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John Fitzgerald Kennedy 
35th President of the United States 
May 29, 1917-November 22, 1963 


President John F. Kennedy 




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Chief Justice Earl 

Senator Richard B. Russell 
Senator John Sherman Cooper 
Representative Hale Boggs 

Warren, Chairman 

Representative Gerald R. Ford 
Mr. Allen W. Dulles 
Mr. John J. McCloy 

J. Lee Rankin, General Counsel 
Assistant Counsel 

Francis W. H. Adams 
Joseph A. Ball 
David W. Belin 
William T. Coleman, Jr. 
Melvin Aron Eisenberg 
Burt W. Griffin 
Leon D, Hubert, Jr. 

Albert E. Jenner, Jr. 
Wesley J. Liebeler 
Norman Redlich 
W. David Slawson 
Arlen Specter 
Samuel A. Stern 
Howard P. Willens* 

Staff Members 

Phillip Barson 
Edward A. Conroy 
John Hart Ely 
Alfred Goldberg 
Murray J. Laulicht 
Arthur Marmor 
Richard M. Mosk 
John J. O'Brien 
Stuart Pollak 
Alfredda Scobey 
Charles N. Shaffer, Jr. 
Lloyd L. Weinreb 

*Mr. Willens also acted as liaison between the Commission and the Department of 
J ustice. 


President's Commission 


Assassination op President Kennedy 
200 Maryland Ave. N^. 

EARL WARREN, Warfiington. D.C. 20002 J. LEE RANKIN. 

RICHARD B. RUSSELL Telephone 543-1400 


GERALD R.FORD September 2h, 19dU 


The President 
The White Hoxxse 
Washington, D. C. 

Dear Mr. President: 

Your Cosmission to investigate the assassination 

of President Kennedy on November 22, 1963* having completed 

its assignment in accordance vith Executive Order No. III30 

of Noveinber 29, I963, herewith submits its final report. 


President Lyndon B. Johnson, by Executive Order No. 11130 dated 
November 29, 1963,^ created this Commission to investigate the 
assassination on November 22, 1963, of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 
35th President of the United States. The President directed the 
Commission to evaluate all the facts and circumstances surrounding 
the assassination and the subsequent killing of the alleged assassin 
and to report its findings and conclusions to him.^ 

The subject of the Commission's inquiry was a chain of events 
which saddened and shocked the people of the United States and of 
the world. The assassination of President Kennedy and the simul- 
taneous wounding of John B. Connally, Jr., Governor of Texas, had 
been followed within an hour by the slaying of Patrolman J. D. Tippit 
of the Dallas Police Department. In the United States and abroad, 
these events evoked universal demands for an explanation. 

Immediately after the assassination. State and local officials in 
Dallas devoted their resources to the apprehension of the assassin. 
The U.S. Secret Service, which is responsible for the protection of the 
President, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation began an investiga- 
tion at the direction of President Johnson. Within 35 minutes of the 
killing of Patrolman Tippit, Lee Harvey Oswald was arrested by 
the Dallas police as a suspect in that crime. Based on evidence pro- 
vided by Federal, State, and local agencies, the State of Texas 
arraigned Oswald within 12 hours of his arrest, charging him with 
the assassination of President Kennedy and the murder of Patrolman 
Tippit. On November 24, 1963, less than 48 hours after his arrest, 
Oswald was fatally shot in the basement of the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment by Jack Ruby, a Dallas nightclub owner. This shooting took 
place in full view of a national television audience. 

The events of these 2 days were witnessed with shock and disbelief 
by a Nation grieving the loss of its young leader. Throughout the 
world, reports on these events were disseminated in massive detail. 
Theories and speculations mounted regarding the assassination. In 
many instances, the intense public demand for facts was met by partial 
and frequently conflicting reports from Dallas and elsewhere. After 
Oswald's arrest and his denial of all guilt, public attention focused 
both on the extent of the evidence against him and the possi- 
bility of a conspiracy, domestic or foreign. His subsequent death 
heightened public interest and stimulated additional suspicions and 



After Lee Harvey Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby, it was no 
longer possible to arrive at the complete story of the assassination 
through normal judicial procedures during a trial of the alleged 
assassin. Alternative means for instituting a complete investi- 
gation were widely discussed. Federal and State officials con- 
ferred on the possibility of initiating a court of inquiry before a State 
magistrate in Texas. An investigation by the grand jury of Dallas 
County also was considered. As speculation about the existence of a 
foreign or domestic conspiracy became widespread, committees in both 
Houses of Congress weighed the desirability of congressional hearings 
to discover all the facts relating to the assassination. 

By his order of November 29 establishing the Commission, Presi- 
dent Johnson sought to avoid parallel investigations and to concen- 
trate factfinding in a body having the broadest national mandate. 
As Chairman of the Commission, President Johnson selected Earl 
Warren, Chief Justice of the United States, former Governor and at- 
torney general of the State of California. From the U.S. Senate, he 
chose Richard B. Russell, Democratic Senator from Georgia and 
chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, former Governor 
of, and county attorney in, the State of Georgia, and John Sherman 
Cooper, Republican Senator from Kentucky, former county and cir- 
cuit judge, State of Kentucky, and U.S. Ambassador to India. Two 
members of the Commission were drawn from the U.S. House of Rep- 
resentatives : Hale Boggs, Democratic U.S. Representative from Lou- 
isiana and majority whip, and Gerald R. Ford, Republican, U.S. 
Representative from Michigan and chairman of the House Republican 
Conference. From private life. President Johnson selected two 
lawyers by profession, both of whom have served in the administra- 
tions of jDemocratic and Republican Presidents: Allen W. Dulles, 
former Director of Central Intelligence, and John J. McCloy, former 
President of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Develop- 
ment, former U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, and during 
World War II, the Assistant Secretary of War. 

From its first meeting on December 5, 1963, the Commission viewed 
the Executive order as an miequivocal Presidential mandate to conduct 
a thorough and independent investigation. Because of the numerous 
rumors and theories, the Commission concluded that the public interest 
in insuring that the truth was ascertained could not be met by merely 
accepting the reports or the analyses of Federal or State agencies. Not 
only were the premises and conclusions of those reports critically re- 
assessed, but all assertions or rumors relating to a possible conspiracy, 
or the complicity of others than Oswald, which have come to the at- 
tention of the Commission, were investigated. 

On December 13, 1963, Congress enacted Senate Joint Resolution 
137 (Public Law 88-202) ^ empowering the Commission to issue sub- 
poenas requiring the testimony of witnesses and the production of evi- 
dence relating to any matter under its investigation. In addition, the 

resolution authorized the Commission to compel testimony from wit- 
nesses claiming the privilege against self-incrimination under the fifth 
amendment to the U.S. Constitution by providing for the grant of 
immunity to persons testifying under such compulsion. Immunity 
under these provisions was not granted to any witness during the 
Commission's investigation. 

The Commission took steps immediately to obtain the necessary 
staff to fulfill its assignment. J. Lee Kankin, former Solicitor Gen- 
eral of the United States, was sworn in as general counsel for the 
Commission on December 16, 1963. Additional members of the legal 
staff were selected during the next few weeks. The Commission has 
been aided by 14 assistant counsel with high professional qualifications, 
selected by it from widely separated parts of the United States. This 
staff undertook the work of the Commission with a wealth of legal 
and investigative experience and a total dedication to the determina- 
tion of the truth. The Conunission has been assisted also by highly 
qualified personnel from several Federal agencies, assigned to the 
Commission at its request. This group included lawyers from 
the Department of Justice, agents of the Internal Revenue Service, 
a senior historian from the Department of Defense, an editor from 
the Department of State, and secretarial and administrative staff 
supplied by the General Services Administration and other agencies. 

In addition to the assistance afforded by Federal agencies, the Com- 
mission throughout its inquiry had the cooperation of representatives 
of the city of Dallas and the State of Texas. The attorney general of 
Texas, Waggoner Carr, aided by two distinguished lawyers of that 
State, Robert G. Storey of Dallas, retired dean of the Southern 
Methodist University Law School and former president of the Amer- 
ican Bar Association, and Leon Jaworski of Houston, former presi- 
dent of the Texas State Bar Association, has been fully informed at 
all times as to the progress of the investigation, and has advanced 
such suggestions as he and his special assistants considered helpful to 
the accomplishment of the Commission's assignment. Attorney Gen- 
eral Carr has promptly supplied the Commission with pertinent infor- 
mation possessed by Texas officials. Dallas officials, particularly those 
from the police department, have fully complied with all requests 
made by the Commission. 


During December and early January the Commission received an 
increasing volume of reports from Federal and State investigative 
agencies. Of principal importance was the five-volume report of 
the Federal Bureau of Investigation, submitted on December 9, 1963, 
which summarized the results of the investigation conducted by the 
Bureau immediately after the assassination. After reviewing this 
report, the Commission requested the Federal Bureau of Investigation 
to furnish the underlying investigative materials relied upon in the 


summary report. The first investigative reports submitted in re- 
sponse to this request were delivered to the Commission on Decem- 
ber 20, 1963. On December 18, the Secret Service submitted a detailed 
report on security precautions taken before President Kennedy's trip 
to Texas and a summary of the events of November 22, as witnessed 
by Secret Service agents. A few days later the Department of State 
submitted a report relating to Oswald's defection to the Soviet Union 
in 1959, and his return to the United States in 1962. On January 7 
and 11, 1964, the attorney general of Texas submitted an extensive 
set of investigative materials, largely Dallas police reports, on the 
assassination of President Kennedy and the killing of Oswald. 

As these investigative reports were received, the staff began analyz- 
ing and summarizing them. The members of the legal staff, divided 
into teams, proceeded to organize the facts revealed by these investi- 
gations, determine the issues, sort out the unresolved problems, and 
recommend additional investigation by the Commission. Simul- 
taneously, to insure'that no relevant information would be overlooked, 
the Commission directed requests to the 10 major departments of the 
Federal Government, 14 of its independent agencies or commissions, 
and 4 congressional committees for all information relating to the 
assassination or the background and activities of Lee Harvey Oswald 
and Jack Euby. 

After reviewing the accumulating materials, the Commission di- 
rected numerous additional requests to Federal and State investiga- 
tive agencies. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Secret 
Service executed the detailed requests for statements of witnesses 
and examinations of physical evidence with dispatch and thorough- 
ness. All these reports were reviewed and analyzed by the Commis- 
sion. Additional investigative requests, where appropriate, were 
handled by Internal Revenue Service, Department of State, and the 
military intelligence agencies with comparable skill. Investigative 
analyses of particular significance and sensitivity in the foreign areas 
were contributed by the Central Intelligence Agency. On occasion 
the Commission used independent experts from State and city govern- 
ments to supplement or verify information. During the investigation 
the Commission on several occasions visited the scene of the assassina- 
tion and other places in the Dallas area pertinent to the inquiry. 

The scope and detail of the investigative effort by the Federal and 
State agencies are suggested in part by statistics from the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation and the Secret Service. Immediately after 
the assassination more than 80 additional FBI personnel were trans- 
ferred to the Dallas office on a temporary basis to assist in the investi- 
gation. Beginning November 22, 1963, the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation conducted approximately 25,000 interviews and reinter- 
views of persons having information of possible relevance to the in- 
vestigation and by September 11, 1964, submitted over 2,300 reports 
totaling approximately 25,400 pages to the Commission. During the 
same period the Secret Service conducted approximately 1,550 inter- 
views and submitted 800 reports totaling some 4,600 pages. 


Because of the diligence, cooperation, and facilities of Federal in- 
vestigative agencies, it was unnecessary for the Commission to employ 
investigators other than the members of the Commission's legal staff. 
The Commission recognized, however, that special measures were re- 
quired whenever the facts or rumors called for an appraisal of the acts 
of the agencies themselves. The staff reviewed in detail the actions of 
several Federal agencies, particularly the Federal Bureau of Investiga- 
tion, the Secret Service, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the 
Department of State. Initially the Commission requested the agencies 
to furnish all their reports relating to the assassination and their rela- 
tionships with Oswald or Ruby. On the basis of these reports, the 
Commission submitted specific questions to the agency involved. 
Members of the staff followed up the answers by reviewing the relevant 
files of each agency for additional information. In some instances, 
members of the Commission also reviewed the files in person. Finally, 
the responsible officials of these agencies were called to testify under 
oath. Dean Rusk, Secretary of State; C. Douglas Dillon, Secretary 
of the Treasury ; Jolm A. McCone, Director of the Central Intelligence 
Agency; J. Edgar Hoover, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investi- 
gation ; and James J. Rowley, Chief of the Secret Service, appeared 
as witnesses and testified fully regarding their agencies' participation 
in the matters under scrutiny by the Commission. 


In addition to the information resulting from these investigations, 
the Commission has relied primarily on the facts disclosed by the 
sworn testimony of the principal witnesses to the assassination and 
related events. Beginning on February 3, 1964, the Commission and 
its staff has taken the testimony of 552 witnesses. Of this number, 
94 appeared before members of the Commission ; 395 were questioned 
by members of the Commission's legal staff; 61 supplied sworn affi- 
davits; and 2 gave statements.* Under Commission procedures, all 
witnesses were advised that they had the right to the presence and the 
advice of their lawyer during the interrogation, with the corollary 
rights to raise objections to any questions asked, to make any clarifying 
statement on the record after the interrogation, and to purchase a copy 
of their testimony.^ 

Commission hearings were closed to the public unless the witness 
appearing before the Commission requested an open hearing. Under 
these procedures, testimony of one witness was taken in a public hear- 
ing on two occasions. No other witness requested a public hearing. 
The Commission concluded that the premature publication by it of 
testimony regarding the assassination or the subsequent killing of 
Oswald might interfere with Ruby's rights to a fair and impartial 
trial on the charges filed against him by the State of Texas. The 
Commission also recognized that testimony would be presented before 
it which would be inadmissible in judicial proceedings and might 


prejudice innocent parties if made public out of context. In addition 
to the witnesses who appeared before the Commission, numerous 
others provided sworn depositions, affidavits, and statements upon 
which the Commission has relied. Since this testimony, as well as 
that taken before the Commission, could not always be taken in logical 
sequence, the Commission concluded that partial publication of testi- 
mony as the investigation progressed was impractical and could be 


The Commission's most difficult assignments have been to uncover 
all the facts concerning the assassination of President Kennedy and 
to determine if it was in any way directed or encouraged by unknown 
persons at home or abroad. In this process, its objective has been to 
identify the person or persons responsible for both the assassination 
of President Kemiedy and the killing of Oswald through an examina- 
tion of the evidence. The task has demanded miceasing appraisal of 
the evidence by the individual members of the Commission in their 
effort to discover the whole truth. 

The procedures followed by the Commission in developing and 
assessing evidence necessarily differed from those of a court conducting 
a criminal trial of a defendant present before it, since under our 
system there is no pro^dsion for a posthumous trial. If Oswald had 
lived he could have had a trial by American standards of justice where 
he would have been able to exercise his full rights mider the law. 
A judge and jury would have presumed him innocent until proven 
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. He might have furnished infor- 
mation which could have affected the course of liis trial. He could 
have participated in and guided his defense. There could have been 
an examination to determine whether he was sane under prevailing 
legal standards. All witnesses, including possibly the defendant, 
could have been subjected to searchmg examination under the adver- 
sary system of American trials. 

The Commission has functioned neither as a court presiding over 
an adversary proceeding nor as a prosecutor determined to prove a 
case, but as a factfinding agency committed to the ascertainment of 
the truth. In the course of the investigation of the facts and rumors 
surrounding these matters, it was necessary to explore hearsay and 
other sources of information not admissible in a court proceeding 
obtained from persons who saw or heard and others in a position to 
observe what occurred. In fairness to the alleged assassin and his 
family, the Commission on February 25, 1964, requested Walter E. 
Craig, president of the American Bar Association, to participate in 
the investigation and to advise the Commission whether in his opinion 
the proceedings conformed to the basic principles of American justice. 
Mr. Craig accepted this assignment and participated fully and with- 
out limitation. He attended Commission hearings in person or 
through his appointed assistants. All working papers, reports, and 


other data in Commission files were made available, and Mr. Craig 
and his associates were given the opportunity to cross-examine wit- 
nesses, to recall any witness heard prior to his appointment, and to 
suggest witnesses whose testimony they would like to have the Com- 
mission hear. This procedure was agreeable to counsel for Oswald's 


In this report the Commission submits the results of its investiga- 
tion. Each member of the Commission has given careful considera- 
tion to the entire report and concurs in its findings and conclusions. 
The report consists of an initial chapter summarizing the Commis- 
sion's basic findings and conclusions, followed by a detailed analysis 
of the facts and the issues raised by the events of November 22, 1963, 
and the 2 following days. Individual chapters consider the trip to 
Dallas, the shots from the Texas School Book Depository, the identity 
of the assassin, the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald, the possibility of a 
conspiracy, Oswald's background and possible motive, and arrange- 
ments for the protection of the President. In these chapters, rather 
than rely on cross references, the Commission on occasion has repeated 
certain testimony in order that the reader might have the necessary 
information before him while examining the conclusions of the Com- 
mission on each important issue. 

With this report the Commission is submitting the complete testi- 
mony of all the witnesses who appeared before the Commission or 
gave sworn depositions or affidavits, the accompanying documentary 
exhibits, and other investigative materials which are relied upon 
in this report. The Commission is committing all of its reports and 
working papers to the National Archives, where they can be perma- 
nently preserved under the rules and regulations of the National 
Archives and applicable Federal law. 







Narrative of Events 1 

Conclusions 18 

Recommendations 25 


Planning the Texas Trip ' 28 

Advance Preparations for the Dallas Trip 29 

Preventive Intelligence Activities 29 

The Lmicheon Site 30 

The Motorcade Route 31 

Dallas Before the Visit 40 

Visits to Other Texas Cities 42 

Arrival at Love Field 42 

Organization of the Motorcade 43 

The Drive Through Dallas ..." 46 

The Assassination 48 

The Time 48 

Speed of the Limousine 49 

In the Presidential Limousine 49 

Reaction by Secret Service Agents 50 

Parkland Memorial Hospital 52 

The Race to the Hospital 52 

Treatment of President Kennedy 53 

Treatment of Governor Connally 56 

Vice President Johnson at Parkland 56 

Secret Service Emergency Security Arrangements ... 57 

Removal of the President's Body 58 

The End of the Trip 59 

Swearing in of the New President 59 

Retiu-n to Washington, D.C 59 

The Autopsy 59 



The Witnesses 61 

Near the Depository 63 

On the Fifth Floor 68 

At the Triple Underpass 71 

The Presidential Automobile 76 


730-900 0-64— 2 


BOOK DEPOSITOEY— Continued Page 

Expert Examination of Rifle, Cartridge Cases, and Bullet 

Fragments 79 

Discovery of Cartridge Cases and Rifle 79 

Discovery of Bullet at Parkland Hospital 79 

Description of Rifle 81 

Expert Testimony 84 

The Bullet Wounds 85 

The President's Head Wounds 86 

The President's Neck Wounds 87 

The Governor's Wounds 92 

The Trajectory 96 

Films and Tests 96 

The First Bullet That Hit 97 

The Subsequent Bullet That Hit 109 

Number of Shots 110 

The Shot That Missed Ill 

The First Shot Ill 

The Second Shot 115 

The Third Shot 115 

Time Span of Shots 117 

Conclusion 117 

Chapter IV. THE ASSASSIN 118 

Ownership and Possession of Assassination Weapon 118 

Purchase of Rifle by Oswald 118 

Oswald's Palmprint on Rifle Barrel 122 

Fibers on Rifle 124 

Photograph of Oswald With Rifle 125 

Rifle Among Oswald's Possessions . 128 

Conclusion 129 

The Rifle in the Building 129 

The Curtain Rod Story 129 

The Missing Rifle 130 

The Long and Bulky Package 131 

Location of Bag 134 

Scientific Evidence Linking Rifle and Oswald to 

Paper Bag 135 

Conclusion 137 

Oswald at Window 137 

Palmprints and Fingerprints on Cartons and Paper 

Bag 140 

Oswald's Presence on Sixth Floor Approximately 

35 Minutes Before the Assassination 143 

Eyewitness Identification of Assassin 143 

Oswald's Actions in Building After Assassination .... 149 

Conclusion 156 


Chapter IY. THE ASSASSIN— Continued Page 

The Killing of Patrolman J. D. Tippit 156 

Oswald's Movements After Leaving Depository 

BuHding 157 

Description of Shooting 165 

Eyewitnesses 166 

Murder Weapon 171 

Ownership of Revolver 172 

Oswald's Jacket 175 

Conclusion 176 

Oswald's Arrest 176 

Statements of Oswald During Detention 180 

Denial of Rifle Ownership' 180 

The Revolver 181 

The Aliases ^'HideU" and '^O. H. Lee" 181 

The Curtain Rod Story 182 

Actions During and After Shooting 182 

Prior Attempt To Kill 183 

The Attempt on the Life of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. 

Walker 183 

Richard M. Nixon Incident 187 

Oswald's Rifle Capability 189 

The Nature of the Shots 189 

Oswald's Marine Training 191 

Oswald's Rifle Practice Outside the Marines 192 

Accuracy of Weapon 193 

Conclusion 195 

Conclusion . 195 


Treatment of Oswald in Custody 196 

Chronology 198 

Interrogation Sessions 199 

Oswald's Legal Rights 200 

Activity of Newsmen 201 

On the Thhd Floor 201 

Oswald and the Press 206 

The Abortive Transfer 208 

Possible Assistance to Jack Ruby in Entering the Base- 
ment 216 

Adequacy of Security Precautions 225 

News Coverage and Police Policy 231 

Responsibility of News Media 240 


Circumstances Surrounding the Assassination 245 

Selection of Motorcade Route 245 

Oswald's Presence in the Depository Building 246 

Bringing Rifle Into Building 247 


SPIRACY— Continued 

Circumstances Surrounding the Assassination — Con. Page 

Accomplices at the Scene of the Assassination 248 

Oswald's Escape 252 

Background of Lee Harvey Oswald 254 

Residence in the Soviet Union 254 

Associations in the DaUas-Fort Worth Community . . 280 

Political Activities Upon Retiu'n to the United States . 287 
Contacts With the Cuban and Soviet Embassies in 
Mexico City and the Soviet Embassy in Washington, 

D.C 299 

Investigation of Other Activities 312 

Oswald Was Not an Agent for the U.S. Government . 325 

Oswald's Finances 328 

Possible Conspiracy Involving Jack Ruby 333 

Ruby's Activities From November 21 to November 

24, 1963 333 

Ruby and Oswald Were Not Acquainted 359 

Ruby's Background and Associations 365 

Conclusion 374 



The Early Years 377 

New York City 378 

Return to New Orleans and Joining the Marine Corps . . . 383 

Interest in Marxism 388 

Defection to the Soviet Union 390 

Return to the United States 394 

Personal Relations 400 

Emplojmient 402 

Attack on General Walker 404 

Political Activities 406 

Interest in Cuba. 412 

Possible Influence of Anti-Kennedy Sentiment in DaUas. . 415 

Relationship With Wife 416 

The Unanswered Questions 421 

Conclusion 423 


The Nature of the Protective Assignment 426 

Evaluation of Presidential Protection at the Time of the 

Assassination of President Kennedy 428 

Intelligence Functions Relating to Presidential Pro- 
tection at the Time of the Dallas Trip 429 

Liaison. With Other Government Agencies 444 

Other Protective Measures and Aspects of Secret 

Service Performance 444 


DENT— Continued Page 

Recommendations 454 

Assassination a Federal Crime 454 

Committee of Cabinet Officers 456 

Responsibilities for Presidential Protection 457 

General Supervision of the Secret Service 460 

Preventive Intelligence 461 

Liaison With Local Law Enforcement Agencies 465 

Inspection of Buildings 466 

Secret Service Personnel and Facilities 466 

Manpower and Technical Assistance From Other 

Agencies 467 

Conclusion 468 

Appendix I. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 11130 471 





Members of Commission 475 

General Counsel 476 

Assistant Counsel 476 

Staff Members 477 

Acknowledgments 481 

Appendix V. LIST OF WITNESSES 483 



Resolution Governing Questioning of Witnesses by Mem- 
bers of the Commission Staff 501 



Before the Civil War 504 

Lincoln 505 

The Need for Protection Further Demonstrated 507 

Development of Presidential Protection 510 


TEX 516 





Firearms and Firearms Identification 547 

General Principles 547 

The Rifle 553 

Rifle Cartridge and Cartridge Cases 555 

The Rifle Bullets 557 

The Revolver 558 

Revolver Cartridges and Cartridge Cases 559 

Revolver Bullets 559 

The Struggle for the Revolver 560 

The Paraffin Test 560 

The Walker Bullet 562 

Fingerprints and Palmprints 563 

General Principles 563 

Objects in the Texas School Book Depository Build- 
ing 556 

Questioned Documents 566 

The Mail Order for the C2766 Rifle, the Related En- 
velope, and the Money Order 569 

Mail Order for the V510210 Revolver 570 

Post Office Box Applications and Change-of-Address 

Card 570 

The Spurious Selective Service System Notice of 
Classification and U.S. Marine Corps Certificate 

of Service 571 

The Hidell Notice of Classification 571 

The Hidell Certificate of Service 576 

The Vaccination Certificate 577 

The Fair Play for Cuba Committee Card 578 

The Unsigned Russian-Language Note 578 

The Homemade Wrapping Paper Bag 579 

Wound Ballistics Experiments 580 

Purpose of the Tests 580 

The Testers and Their Qualifications 580 

General Testing Conditions 581 

Tests on Penetration Power and BuUet Stability. ... 581 

Tests Simulating President Kennedy's Neck Wound . 582 

Tests Simulating Governor Connally's Chest Wounds. 582 

Tests Simulating Governor Connally's Wrist Wounds . 583 
Conclusions From Simulating the Neck, Chest, and 

Wrist Wounds 584 

Tests Simulating President Kennedy's Head Wounds . 585 

Hairs and Fibers 586 

General Principles 588 

Photographs 592 






The Source of the Shots 639 

The Assassin 642 

Oswald's Movements Between 12:33 and 1:15 p.m 648 

Murder of Tippit 650 

Oswald After His Arrest 654 

Oswald in the Soviet Union 655 

Oswald's Trip to Mexico City 658 

Oswald and U.S. Govermnent Agencies 659 

Conspiratorial Relationships 661 

Other Rumors and Speculations 664 



Early Years , . 669 

Marines 681 

Soviet Union 689 

Fort Worth, Dallas, New Orleans 713 

Mexico City 730 

Dallas 737 

VEMBER 22, 1963 741 



Issuance of Passport in 1959 746 

Oswald's Attempts To Renounce His U.S. Citizenship 747 

Return and Renewal of Oswald's 1959 Passport 752 

Negotiations Between Oswald and the Embassy 752 

Legal Justification for the Return and Reissue of 

Oswald's Passport 759 

Authorization for Marina Oswald To Enter the United 

States 761 

Negotiations Between Oswald and the Embassy 761 

Legal Justification for the Decisions Affecting Marina 

Oswald 766 

Oswald's Letter to Senator Tower 769 

The Loan From the State Department 770 

Oswald's Return to the United States and Repayment of 

His Loan 773 

Issuance of a Passport in June 1963 773 

Visit to the Russian Embassy in Mexico City 777 

Conclusion 777 




Family Background 779 

Childhood and Youth (1911-33) 780 

Psychiatric Report 781 

Placement in Foster Homes 782 

Subsequent Home Life 783 

Education 784 

Activities 784 

Temperament 785 

Young Manhood (1933-43) 786 

San Francisco (1933-37) 786 

Occupations and Activities 786 

Chicago (1937-43) 787 

Military Activities (1943-46) 790 

Postwar Chicago (1946-47) 791 

Dallas (1947-63) 792 

The Move to Dallas 792 

The Change of Name 793 

Nightclub Operations 794 

Employee Relationships 796 

Financial Data and Tax Problems 797 

Other Business Ventures 799 

Arrests and Violations 800 

Police Associations 800 

Underworld Ties 801 

Travels 801 

Character and Interests 802 

Family Relationships 802 

Social Relationships 803 

Affection for Dogs 804 

Religious Interests 804 

Physical Activities and Violence 804 

Generosity to Friends and the Need for Recognition . 806 


RUBY 807 

Preliminary Arrangements 807 

Administration of the Test 809 

Interpretation of the Test 813 


INDEX 880 



Summary and Conclusions 

THE ASSASSINATION of John Fitzgerald Kennedy on 
November 22, 1963, was a cruel and shocking act of violence 
directed against a man, a family, a nation, and against all 
mankind. A young and vigorous leader whose years of public and 
private life stretched before him was the victim of the fourth Presi- 
dential assassination in the history of a country dedicated to the con- 
cepts of reasoned argument and peaceful political change. This 
Commission was created on November 29, 1963, in recognition of the 
right of people everywhere to full and truthful knowledge concerning 
these events. This report endeavors to fulfill that right and to 
appraise this tragedy by the light of reason and the standard of fair- 
ness. It has been prepared with a deep awareness of the Commission's 
responsibility to present to the American people an objective report 
of the facts relating to the assassination. 


At 11 :40 a.m., c.s.t., on Friday, November 22, 1963, President John F. 
Kennedy, Mrs. Kennedy, and their party arrived at Love Field, Dallas, 
Tex. Behind them was the first day of a Texas trip planned 5 months 
before by the President, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, and 
John B. Connally, Jr., Governor of Texas. After leaving the White 
House on Thursday morning, the President had flown initially to San 
Antonio where Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson joined the party 
and the President dedicated new research facilities at the U.S. Air 
Force School of Aerospace Medicine. Following a testimonial dinner 
in Houston for U.S. Representative Albert Thomas, the President flew 
to Fort Worth where he spent the night and spoke at a large breakfast 
gathering on Friday. 

Planned for later that day were a motorcade through downtown 
Dallas, a Imicheon speech at the Trade Mart, and a flight to Austin 
where the President would attend a reception and speak at a Demo- 
cratic fundraising dinner. From Austin he would proceed to the 
Texas ranch of the Vice President. Evident on this trip were the 


varied roles which an American President performs — Head of State, 
Chief Executive, party leader, and, in this instance, prospective candi- 
date for reelection. 

The Dallas motorcade, it was hoped, would evoke a demonstration 
of the President's personal popularity in a city which he had lost in 
the 1960 election. Once it had been decided that the trip to Texas 
would span 2 days, those responsible for plamiing, primarily Governor 
Connally and Kenneth O'Donnell, a special assistant to the Presi- 
dent, agreed that a motorcade through Dallas would be desirable. 
The Secret Service was told on November 8 that 45 minutes had been 
allotted to a motorcade procession from Love Field to the site of a 
luncheon planned by Dallas business and ci\dc leaders in honor of the 
President. After considering the facilities and security problems of 
several buildings, the Trade Mart was chosen as the luncheon site. 
Given this selection, and in accordance with the customary practice 
of affording the greatest number of people an opportunity to see the 
President, the motorcade route selected was a natural one. The route 
was approved by the local host committee and \Yhite House representa- 
tives on November 18 and publicized in the local papers starting on 
November 19. This advance publicity made it clear that the motor- 
cade would leave Main Street and pass the intersection of Elm and 
Houston Streets as it proceeded to the Trade Mart by way of the 
Stemmons Freeway. 

By midmorning of November 22, clearing skies in Dallas dispelled 
the threat of rain and the President greeted the crowds from his open 
limousine without the "bubbletop," which was at that time a plastic 
shield furnishing protection only against inclement weather. To the 
left of the President in the rear seat was Mrs. Kennedy. In the 
jump seats were Governor Connally, who was in front of the President, 
and Mrs. Connally at the Governor's left. Agent William K. Greer 
of the Secret Service was driving, and Agent Roy H. Kellerman was 
sitting to his right. 

Directly behind the Presidential limousine was an open "followup" 
car with eight Secret Service agents, two in the front seat, two in the 
rear, and two on each running board. These agents, in accordance with 
normal Secret Service procedures, were instructed to scan the crowds, 
the roofs, and windows of buildings, overpasses, and crossings for signs 
of trouble. Behind the "followup" car was the Vice-Presidential car 
carrying the Vice President and Mrs. Johnson and Senator Ralph W. 
Yarborough. Next were a Vice-Presidential "followup" car and sev- 
eral cars and buses for additional dignitaries, press representatives, 
and others. 

The motorcade left Love Field shortly after 11 :50 a.m., and pro- 
ceeded through residential neighborhoods, stopping twice at the 
President's request to greet well-wishers among the friendly crowds. 
Each time the President's car halted. Secret Ser^dce agents from the 
"followup" car moved forward to assume a protective stance near the 
President and Mrs. Kennedy. As the motorcade reached Main Street, 
a principal east-west artery in downtown Dallas, the welcome became 


tumultuous. At the extreme west end of Main Street the motorcade 
turned right on Houston Street and proceeded north for one block in 
order to make a left turn on Elm Street, the most direct and convenient 
approach to the Stemmons Freeway and the Trade Mart. As the 
President's car approached the intersection of Houston and Elm 
Streets, there loomed directly ahead on the intersection's northwest cor- 
ner a seven-story, orange brick warehouse and office building, the Texas 
School Book Depository. Eiding in the Vice President's car. Agent 
Euf us W. Youngblood of the Secret Service noticed that the clock atop 
the building indicated 12:30 p.m., the scheduled arrival time at the 
Trade Mart. 

The President's car which had been going north made a sharp turn 
toward the southwest onto Elm Street. At a speed of about 11 miles 
per hour, it started down the gradual descent toward a railroad over- 
pass under which the motorcade would proceed before reaching the 
Stemmons Freeway. The front of the Texas School Book Depository 
was now on the President's right, and he waved to the crowd as- 
sembled there as he passed the building. Dealey Plaza — an open, 
landscaped area marking the western end of downtown Dallas — 
stretched out to the President's left. A Secret Service agent riding 
in the motorcade radioed the Trade Mart that the President would 
arrive in 5 minutes. 

Seconds later shots resounded in rapid succession. The President's 
hands moved to his rieck. He appeared to stiffen momentarily and 
lurch slightly forward in his seat. A bullet had entered the base 
of the back of his neck slightly to the right of the spine. It trav- 
eled downward and exited from the front of the neck, causing a 
nick in the left lower portion of the knot in the President's necktie. 
Before the shooting started. Governor Connally had been facing 
toward the crowd on the right. He started to turn toward the left 
and suddenly felt a blow on his back. The Governor had been hit 
by a bullet which entered at the extreme right side of his back at a 
point below his right armpit. The bullet traveled through his chest 
in a downward and forward direction, exited below his right nipple, 
passed through his right wrist which had been in his lap, and then 
caused a wound to his left thigh. The force of the bullet's impact 
appeared to spin the Governor to his right, and Mrs. Connally pulled 
him down into her lap. Another bullet then struck President Kennedy 
in the rear portion of his head, causing a massive and fatal wound. 
The President fell to the left into Mrs. Kennedy's lap. 

Secret Service Agent Clinton J. Hill, riding on the left running 
board of the "followup" car, heard a noise which sounded like a fire- 
cracker and saw the President suddenly lean forward and to the left. 
Hill jumped off the car and raced toward the President's limousine. 
In the front seat of the Vice- Presidential car. Agent Youngblood 
heard an explosion and noticed unusual movements in the crowd. 
He vaulted into the rear seat and sat on the Vice President in order 
to protect him. At the same time Agent Kellerman in the front seat 
of the Presidential limousine turned to observe the President. See- 


ing that the President was struck, Kellerman instructed the driver, 
"Let's get out of here ; we are hit." He radioed ahead to the lead car, 
"Get us to the hospital immediately." Agent Greer immediately ac- 
celerated the Presidential car. As it gained speed, Agent Hill man- 
aged to pull himself onto the back of the car where Mrs. Kennedy had 
climbed. Hill pushed her back into the rear seat and shielded the 
stricken President and Mrs. Kennedy as the President's car proceeded 
at high speed to Parkland Memorial Hospital, 4 miles away. 

At Parkland, the President was immediately treated by a team of 
physicians who had been alerted for the President's arrival by the 
Dallas Police Department as the result of a radio message from the 
motorcade after the shooting. The doctors noted irregular breathing 
movements and a possible heartbeat, although they could not detect a 
pulsebeat. They observed the extensive wound in the President's 
head and a small wound approximately one-fourth inch in diameter in 
the lower third of his neck. In an effort to facilitate breathing, the 
physicians performed a tracheotomy by enlarging the throat wound 
and inserting a tube. Totally absorbed in the immediate task of try- 
ing to preserve the President's life, the attending doctors never turned 
the President over for an examination of his back. At 1 p.m., after all 
heart activity ceased and the Last Rites were administered by a priest, 
President Kennedy Avas pronounced dead. Governor Connally under- 
went surgery and ultimately recovered from his serious wounds. 

Upon learning of the President's death. Vice President Johnson left 
Parkland Hospital under close guard and proceeded to the Presiden- 
tial plane at Love Field. Mrs. Kennedy, accompanying her husband's 
body, boarded, the plane shortly thereafter. At 2:38 p.m., in the 
central compartment of the plane, Lyndon B. Johnson Avas sworn in as 
the 86th President of the United States by Federal District Court 
Judge Sarah T. Hughes. The plane left immediately for AVashington, 
D.C, arriving at Andrews AFB, Md., at 5 :58 p.m., e.s.t. The Presi- 
dent's body was taken to the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, 
Md., where it was given a complete pathological examination. The 
autopsy disclosed the large head wound observed at Parkland and the 
wound in the front of tlie neck AA^hich had been enlarged by the Park- 
land doctors Avhen they performed the tracheotoni}'. Both of these 
wounds Avere described in the autopsy report as being "presumabh^ of 
exit." In addition the autopsy reA^ealed a small Avound of entry in 
tlie rear of the President's skull and another Avound of entry near the 
base of the back of the neck. The autopsy report stated the cause of 
death as "Gunshot Avound, head,*' and the bullets AA^hich struck the 
President Avere described as having been fired "from a point behind 
and someAAdiat above the leA^el of the deceased." 

At the scene of the shooting, there was evident confusion at the out- 
set concerning the point of origin of the shots. Witnesses differed in 
their accounts of the direction from Avhich the sound of the shots em- 
anated. Within a feAV minutes, however, attention centered on the 
Texas School Book Depository Building as the source of the shots. 
The building Avas occupied by a private corporation, the Texas School 


Book Depository Co'., which distributed school textbooks of several 
publishers and leased space to representatives of the publishers. Most 
of the employees in the buildin<y worked for these publishers. The 
balance, including a 15-man warehousing crew, were employees of the 
Texas School Book Depository Co. itself. 

Several e^^ewitnesses in front of the building reported that they saw 
a rifle being fired from the southeast corner window on the sixth floor 
of the Texas School Book Depository. One eyewitness, Howard L. 
Brennan, had been watching the parade from a point on Elm Street 
directly opposite and facing the building. He promptly told a 
policeman that he had seen a slender man, about 5 feet 10 inches, in his 
early thirties, take deliberate aim from the sixth-floor comer window 
and fire a rifle in the direction of the President's car. Brennan thought 
he might be able to identify the man since he had noticed him in the 
window a few minutes before the motorcade made the turn onto Elm 
Street. At 12 :34 p.m., the Dallas police radio mentioned the Deposi- 
tory Building as a possible source of the shots, and at 12 :45 p.m., the 
police radio broadcast a description of the suspected assassin based 
primarily on Brennan's observations. 

^AHien the shots were fired, a Dallas motorcycle patrolman, Marrion 
L. Baker, was riding in the motorcade at a point several cars behind 
the President. He had turned right from Main Street onto Houston 
Street and was about 200 feet south of Elm Street when he heard a 
shot. Baker, having recently returned from a week of deer hunting, 
was certain the shot came from a high-powered rifle. He looked up 
and saw pigeons scattering in the air from their perches on the Texas 
School Book Depository Building. He raced his motorcycle to the 
building, dismounted, scanned the area to the west and pushed his way 
through the spectators toward the entrance. There he encountered 
Roy Truly, the building superintendent, who offered Baker his 
help. They entered the building, and ran toward the two elevators in 
the rear. Finding that both elevators were on an upper floor, they 
dashed up the stairs. Not more than 2 minutes had elapsed since the 

'\'\nien they reached the second-floor landing on their way up to 
the top of the building. Patrolman Baker thought he caught a glimpse 
of someone through the small glass window in the door separating the 
hall area near the stairs from the small vestibule leading into the 
lunchroom. Gun in hand, he rushed to the door and saw a man about 
20 feet away walking toward the other end of the lunchroom. The 
man was emptyhanded. At Baker's command, the man tumed and 
approached him. Truly, who had started up the stairs to the third 
floor ahead of Baker, returned to see what had delayed the patrolman. 
Baker asked Truly whether he knew the man in the limchroom. 
Truly replied that the man worked in the building, whereupon Baker 
turned from the man and proceeded, with Truly, up the stairs. The 
man they encountered had started working in the Texas School Book 
Depositoiy Building on October 16, 1963. His fellow workers de- 


scribed him as very quiet — a "loner." His name was Lee Harvey 

Within about 1 minute after his encounter with Baker and Truly, 
Oswald was seen passing through the second-floor offices. In his hand 
was a full "Coke" bottle which he had purchased from a vending ma- 
chine in the lunchroom. He was walking toward the front of the 
building where a passenger elevator and a short flight of stairs pro- 
vided access to the main entrance of the building on the first floor. 
Approximately 7 minutes later, at about 12 -AO p.m., Oswald boarded a 
bus at a point on Elm Street seven short blocks east of the Depository 
Building. The bus was traveling west toward the very building from 
which Oswald had come. Its route lay through the Oak Cliff section 
in southwest Dallas, where it would pass seven blocks east of the room- 
inghouse in which Oswald was living, at 1026 North Beckley Avenue. 
On the bus was Mrs. Mary Bledsoe, one of Oswald's former landladies 
who immediately recognized him. Oswald stayed on the bus approxi- 
mately 3 or 4 minutes, during which time it proceeded only two blocks 
because of the traffic jam created by the motorcade and the assassi- 
nation. Oswald then left the bus. 

A few minutes later he entered a vacant taxi four blocks away and 
asked the driver to take him to a point on North Beckley Avenue 
several blocks beyond his roominghouse. The trip required 5 or 6 
minutes. At about 1 p.m. Oswald arrived at the roominghouse. The 
housekeeper, Mrs. Earlene Roberts, was surprised to see Oswald at 
midday and remarked to him that he seemed to be in quite a hurry. He 
made no reply. A few minutes later Oswald emerged from his room 
zipping up his jacket and rushed out of the house. 

Approximately 14 minutes later, and just 45 minutes after the 
assassination, another violent shooting occurred in Dallas. The victim 
was Patrolman J. D. Tippit of the Dallas police, an officer with a 
good record during his more than 11 years with the police force. 
He was shot near the intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, 
about nine-tenths of a mile from Oswald's roominghouse. At the time 
of the assassination, Tippit was alone in his patrol car, the routine 
practice for most police patrol cars at this time of day. He 
had been ordered by radio at 12:45 p.m. to proceed to the central 
Oak Cliff area as part of a concentration of patrol car activity around 
the center of the city following the assassination. At 12 :54 Tippit 
radioed that he had moved as directed and would be available for 
any emergency. By this time the police radio had broadcast several 
messages alerting the police to the suspect described by Brennan at 
the scene of the assassination — a slender white male, about 30 years 
old, 5 feet 10 inches and weighing about 165 pounds. 

At approximately 1 :15 p.m., Tippit was driving slowly in an easterly 
direction on East 10th Street in Oak Cliff. About 100 feet past the 
intersection of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, Tippit pulled up along- 
side a man walking in the same direction. The man met the general 
description of the suspect wanted in connection with the assassination. 
He walked over to Tippit's car, rested his arms on the door on the right- 


hand side of the car, and apparently exchanged words with Tippit 
through the window. Tippit opened the door on the left side and 
started to walk around the front of his car. As he reached the front 
wheel on the driver's side, the man on the sidewalk drew a revolver and 
fired several shots in rapid succession, hitting Tippit four times and 
killing him instantly. An automobile repairman, Domingo Benavides, 
heard the shots and stopped his pickup truck on the opposite side of the 
street about 25 feet in front of Tippit's car. He observed the gunman 
start back toward Patton Avenue, removing the empty cartridge cases 
from the gun as he went. Benavides rushed to Tippit's side. The pa- 
trolman, apparently dead, was lying on his revolver, which was out of 
its holster. Benavides promptly reported the shooting to police head- 
(^uarters over the radio in Tippit's car. The message was received 
shortly after 1 :16 p.m. 

As the gunman left the scene, he walked hurriedly back toward Pat- 
ton Avenue and turned left, heading south. Standing on the north- 
west corner of 10th Street and Patton Avenue was Helen Markham, 
who had been walking south on Patton Avenue and had seen both the 
killer and Tippit cross the intersection in front of her as she waited on 
the curb for traffic to pass. She witnessed the shooting and then saw 
the man with a gun in his hand Avalk back toward the corner and cut 
across the lawn of the corner house as he started south on Patton 

In the comer house itself, Mrs. Barbara Jeanette Davis and her sis- 
ter-in-law, Mrs. Virginia Davis, heard the shots and rushed to the 
door in time to see the man walk rapidly across the lawn shaking a 
revolver as if he were emptying it of cartridge cases. Later that day 
each woman found a cartridge case near the house. As the gunman 
turned the corner he passed alongside a taxicab which was parked on 
Patton Avenue, a few feet from 10th Street. The driver, William W. 
Scoggins, had seen the slaying and was now crouched behind his cab 
on the street side. As the gunman cut through the shrubbery on the 
lawn, Scoggins looked up and saw the man approximately 12 feet 
away. In his hand was a pistol and he muttered words which sounded 
to Scoggins like "poor dumb cop" or "poor damn cop." 

After passing Scoggins, the gunman crossed to the west side of Pat- 
ton Avenue and ran south toward Jefferson Boulevard, a main Oak 
Cliff thoroughfare. On the east side of Patton, between 10th Street 
and Jefferson Boulevard, Ted Callaway, a used car salesman, heard 
the shots and ran to the sidewalk. As the man with the gun rushed 
past, Callaway shouted "AYhat's going on?" The man merely 
shrugged, ran on to J efferson Boulevard and turned right. On the next 
corner was a gas station with a parking lot in the rear. The assailant 
ran into the lot, discarded his jacket and then continued his flight west 
on J efferson. 

In a shoe store a few blocks farther west on Jefferson, the manager, 
Johnny Calvin Brewer, heard the siren of a police car moments after 
the radio in his store announced the shooting of the police officer in Oak 
Cliff. Brewer saw a man step quickly into the entranceway of the 


store and stand there with his back toward the street. When the po- 
lice car made a U-tum and headed back in the direction of the Tippit 
shooting, the man left and Brewer followed him. He saw the man 
enter the Texas Theatre, a motion picture house about 60 feet away, 
without buying a ticket. Brewer pointed this out to the cashier, Mrs. 
Julia Pastal, who called the police. The time was shortly after 
1 :40 p.m. 

At 1 :29 p.m., the police radio had noted the similarity in the descrip- 
tions of the suspects in the Tippit shooting and the assassination. At 
1 :45 p.m., in response to Mrs. Postal's call, the police radio sounded the 
alarm: "Have information a suspect just went in the Texas Theatre 
on West Jefferson.'' Within minutes the theater was surrounded. 
The house lights were then turned up. Patrolman M. N. McDonald 
and several other policemen approached the man, who had been 
pointed out to them by Brewer. 

McDonald ordered the man to his feet and heard him say, "Well, 
it^s all over now." The man drew a gun from his waist with one 
hand and struck the officer with the other. McDonald struck out 
with his right hand and grabbed the gun with his left hand. After 
a brief struggle McDonald and several other police officers disarmed 
and handcuffed the suspect and drove him to police headquarters, 
arriving at approximately 2 p.m. 

Following the assassination, police cars had rushed to the Texas 
School Book Depository in response to the many radio messages re- 
porting that the shots had been fired from the Depository Building. 
Inspector J. Herbert Sawyer of the Dallas Police Department arrived 
at the scene shortly after hearing the first of these police radio mes- 
sages at 12:34 p.m. Some of the officers who had been assigned to 
the area of Elm and Houston Streets for the motorcade were talking 
to witnesses and watching the building when Sawyer arrived. Sawyer 
entered the building and rode a passenger elevator to the fourth floor, 
which was the top floor for this elevator. He conducted a quick 
search, returned to the main floor and, between approximately 12 :37 
and 12 :40 p.m., ordered that no one be permitted to leave the building. 

Shortly before 1 p.m. Capt. J. Will Fritz, chief of the homicide 
and robbery bureau of the Dallas Police Department, arrived to take 
charge of the investigation. Searching the sixth floor. Deputy Sheriff 
Luke Mooney noticed a pile of cartons in the southeast comer. He 
squeezed through the boxes and realized immediately that he had 
discovered the point from which the shots had been fired. On the floor 
were three empty cartridge cases. A carton had apparently been 
placed on the floor at the side of the window so that a person sitting on 
the carton could look down Elm Street toward the overpass and 
scarcely be noticed from the outside. Between this carton and the 
half-open window were three additional cartons arranged at such an 
angle that a rifle resting on the top carton would be aimed directly at 
the motorcade as it moved away from the building. The high stack 
of boxes, which first attracted Mooney's attention, effectively screened 
a person at the window from the view of anyone else on the floor. 


Mooney's discovery intensified the search for additional evidence 
on the sixth floor, and at 1 :22 p.m., approximately 10 minutes after 
the cartridge cases were found. Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone turned 
his flashlight in the direction of two rows of boxes in the northwest 
corner near the staircase. Stuffed between the two rows was a bolt- 
action rifle with a telescopic sight. The rifle was not touched until 
it could be photographed. When Lt. J. C. Day of the police iden- 
tification bureau decided that the wooden stock and the metal knob 
at the end of the bolt contained no prints, he held the rifle by the 
stock while Captain Fritz ejected a live shell by operating the bolt. 
Lieutenant Day promptly noted that stamped on the rifle itself was 
the serial number "C2766" as well as the markings "1940" "MADE 
ITALY" and "CAL. 6.5." The rifle was about 40 inches long and when 
disassembled it could fit into a handmade paper sack which, after the 
assassination, was found in the southeast comer of the building within 
a few feet of the cartridge cases. 

As Fritz and Day were completing their examination of this rifle 
on the sixth floor, Roy Truly, the building superintendent, approached 
with information which he felt should be brought to the attention of 
the police. Earlier, while the police were questioning the employees, 
Truly had observed that Lee Harvey Oswald, 1 of the 15 men who 
worked in the warehouse, was missing. After Truly provided Oswald's 
name, address, and general description, Fritz left for police headquar- 
ters. He arrived at headquarters shortly after 2 p.m. and asked two de- 
tectives to pick up the employee who was missing from the Texas 
School Book Depository. Standing nearby were the police officers who 
had just arrived with the man arrested in the Texas Theatre. When 
Fritz mentioned the name of the missing employee, he learned that the 
man was already in the interrogation room. The missing School Book 
Depository employee and the suspect who had been apprehended in 
the Texas Theatre were one and the same — Lee Harvey Oswald. 

The suspect Fritz was about to question in connection with the 
assassination of the President and the murder of a policeman was 
born in New Orleans on October 18, 1939, 2 months after the death 
of his father. His mother. Marguerite Claverie Oswald, had two older 
children. One, John Pic, was a half-brother to Lee from an earlier 
marriage which had ended in divorce. The other was Robert Oswald, 
a full brother to Lee and 5 years older. When Lee Oswald was 3, 
Mrs. Oswald placed him in an orphanage where his brother and half- 
brother were already living, primarily because she had to work. 

In J anuary 1944, when Lee was 4, he was taken out of the orphanage, 
and shortly thereafter his mother moved with him to Dallas, Tex., 
where the older boys joined them at the end of the school year. In May 
of 1945 Marguerite Oswald married her third husband, Edwin A. Ek- 
dahl. While the two older boys attended a military boarding school, 
Lee lived at home and developed a warm attachment to Ekdahl, occa- 
sionally accompanying his mother and stepfather on business trips 
around the country. Lee started school in Benbrook, Tex., but in 
the fall of 1946, after a separation from Ekdahl, Marguerite Oswald 


730-900 0-64— 3 

reentered Lee in the first grade in Covington, La. In January 1947, 
while Lee was still in the first grade, the family moved to Fort 
Worth, Tex., as the result of an attempted reconciliation between 
Ekdahl and Lee's mother. A year and a half later, before Lee was 
9, his mother was divorced from her third husband as the result of 
a divorce action instituted by Ekdahl. Lee's school record during 
the next 61/^ years in Fort Worth was average, although generally 
it grew poorer each year. The comments of teachers and others who 
knew him at that time do not reveal any unusual personality 
traits or characteristics. 

Another change for Lee Oswald occurred in August 1952, a few 
months after he completed the sixth grade. Marguerite Oswald and 
her 12-year-old son moved to New York City where Marguerite's old- 
est son, John Pic, was stationed with the Coast Guard. The ensuing 
year and one-half in New York was marked by Lee's refusals to 
attend school and by emotional and psychological problems of a 
seemingly serious nature. Because he had become a chronic school 
truant, Lee underwent psychiatric study at Youth House, an institu- 
tion in New York for juveniles who have had truancy problems or 
difficulties with the law, and who appear to require psychiatric obser- 
vation, or other types of guidance. The social worker assigned to 
his case described him as "seriously detached" and "withdrawn" and 
noted "a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emotionally 
starved, affectionless youngster." Lee expressed the feeling to the 
social worker that his mother did not care for him and regarded him 
as a burden. He experienced fantasies about being all powerful and 
hurting people, but during his stay at Youth House he was apparently 
not a behavior problem. He appeared withdrawn and evasive, a boy 
who preferred to spend his time alone, reading and watching tele- 
vision. His tests indicated that he was above average in intelligence 
for his age group. The chief psychiatrist of Youth House diag- 
nosed Lee's problem as a "personality pattern disturbance with schiz- 
oid features and passive-aggressive tendencies." He concluded that 
the boy was "an emotionally, quite disturbed youngster" and recom- 
mended psychiatric treatment. 

In May 1953, after having been at Youth House for 3 weeks, Lee 
Oswald returned to school where his attendance and grades temporar- 
ily improved. By the following fall, however, the probation officer 
reported that virtually every teacher complained about the boy's be- 
havior. His mother insisted that he did not need psychiatric assist- 
ance. Although there was apparently some improvement in Lee's 
behavior during the next few months, the court recommended further 
treatment. In January 1954, while Lee's case was still pending. 
Marguerite and Lee left for New Orleans, the city of Lee's birth. 

Upon his return to New Orleans, Lee maintained mediocre grades 
but had no obvious behavior problems. Neighbors and others who 
knew him outside of school remembered him as a quiet, solitary and in- 
troverted boy who read a great deal and whose vocabulary made him 


quite articulate. About 1 month after he started the 10th grade and 11 
days before his 16th birthday in October 1955, he brought to school a 
note purportedly written by his mother, stating that the family was 
moving to California. The note was written by Lee. A few days later 
he dropped out of school and almost immediately tried to join the 
Marine Corps. Because he was only 16, he was rejected. 

After leaving school Lee worked for the next 10 months at several 
jobs in New Orleans as an office messenger or clerk. It was during 
this period that he started to read communist literature. Occa- 
sionally, in conversations with others, he praised communism and 
expressed to his fellow employees a desire to join the Communist 
Party. At about this time, when he was not yet 17, he wrote to the 
Socialist Party of America, professing his belief in Marxism. 

Another move followed in July 1956 when Lee and his mother re- 
turned to Fort Worth. He reentered high school but again dropped 
out after a few weeks and enlisted in the Marine Corps on October 24, 
1956, 6 days after his iTth birthday. On December 21, 1956, during 
boot camp in San Diego, Oswald fired a score of 212 for record with the 
M-1 rifle— 2 points over the minimum for a rating of "sharpshooter" 
on a marksman/sharpshooter /expert scale. After his basic training, 
Oswald received training in aviation fundamentals and then in radar 

Most people who knew Oswald in the Marines described him as a 
"loner" who resented the exercise of authority by others. He spent 
much of his free time reading. He was court-martialed once for pos- 
sessing an unregistered privately owned weapon and, on another occa- 
sion, for using provocative language to a nonconmiissioned officer. He 
was, however, generally able to comply with Marine discipline, even 
though his experiences in the Marine Corps did not live up to his 

Oswald served 15 months overseas until November 1958, most of 
it in Japan. During his final year in the Marine Corps he was sta- 
tioned for the most part in Santa Ana, Calif., where he showed a 
marked interest in the Soviet Union and sometimes expressed po- 
litically radical views with dogmatic conviction. Oswald again fired 
the M-1 rifle for record on May 6, 1959, and this time he shot a score of 
191 on a shorter course than before, only 1 point over the minimum 
required to be a "marksman." According to one of his fellow marines, 
Oswald was not particularly interested in his rifle performance, and 
his unit was not expected to exhibit the usual rifle proficiency. Dur- 
ing this period he expressed strong admiration for Fidel Castro and 
an interest in joining the Cuban army. He tried to impress those 
around him as an intellectual, but his thinking appeared to some as 
shallow and rigid. 

Oswald's Marine service terminated on September 11, 1959, when 
at his own request he was released from active service a few months 
ahead of his scheduled release. He offered as the reason for his re- 
lease the ill health and economic plight of his mother. He returned to 
Fort Worth, remained with his mother only 3 days and left for New 


Orleans, telling his mother he planned to get work there in the shipping 
or import-export business. In New Orleans he booked passage on the 
freighter SS Marion Lykes^ which sailed from New Orleans to Le 
Havre, France, on September 20, 1959. 

Lee Harvey Oswald had presumably planned this step in his life 
for quite some time. In March of 1959 he had applied to the Albert 
Schweitzer College in Switzerland for admission to the spring 1960 
term. His letter of application contained many blatant falsehoods 
concerning his qualifications and background. A few weeks before 
his discharge he had applied for and obtained a passport, listing the 
Soviet Union as one of the countries which he planned to visit. Dur- 
ing his service in the Marines he had saved a comparatively large sum 
of money, possibly as much as $1,500, which would appear to have 
been accomplished by considerable frugality and apparently for a 
specific purpose. 

The purpose of the accumulated fund soon became known. On 
October 16, 1959, Oswald arrived in Moscow by train after crossing 
the border from Finland, where he had secured a visa for a 6-day 
stay in the Soviet Union. He immediately applied for Soviet citizen- 
ship. On the afternoon of October 21, 1959, Oswald was ordered 
to leave the Soviet Union by 8 p.m. that evening. That same after- 
noon in his hotel room Oswald, in an apparent suicide attempt, 
slashed his left wrist. He was hospitalized immediately. On 
October 31, 3 days after his release from the hospital, Oswald 
appeared at the American Embassy, announced that he wished to 
renounce his U.S. citizenship and become a Russian citizen, and 
handed the Embassy officer a written statement he had prepared for 
the occasion. When asked his reasons, Oswald replied, "I am a 
Marxist." Oswald never formally complied with the legal steps 
necessary to renounce his American citizenship. The Soviet Govern- 
ment did not grant his request for citizenship, but in January 1960 he 
was given permission to remain in the Soviet Union on a year-to-year 
basis. At the same time Oswald was sent to Minsk where he worked 
in a radio factory as an unskilled laborer. In January 1961 his per- 
mission to remain in the Soviet Union was extended for another year. 
A few weeks later, in February 1961, he wrote to the American Em- 
bassy in Moscow expressing a desire to return to the United States. 

The following month Oswald met a 19-year-old Russian girl, Marina 
Nikolaevna Prusakova, a pharmacist, who had been brought up in 
Leningrad but was then living with an aunt and uncle in Minsk. 
They were married on April 30, 1961. Throughout the following 
year he carried on a correspondence with American and Soviet authori- 
ties seeking approval for the departure of himself and his wife to 
the United States. In the course of this effort, Oswald and his wife 
visited the U.S. Embassy in Moscow in July of 1961. Primarily on 
the basis of an interview and questionnaire completed there, the 
Embassy concluded that Oswald had not lost his citizenship, a 
decision subsequently ratified by the Department of State in Wash- 
ington, D.C. Upon their return to Minsk, Oswald and his wife filed 


with the Soviet authorities for permission to leave together. Their 
formal application was made in July 1961, and on December 25, 1961, 
Marina Oswald was advised it would be granted. 

A daughter was bom to the Oswalds in February 1962. In the 
months that followed they prepared for their return to the United 
States. On May 9, 1962, the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization 
Service, at the request of the Department of State, agreed to waive a 
restriction under the law which would have prevented the issuance of 
a United States visa to Oswald's Kussian wife until she had left the 
Soviet Union. They finally left Moscow on June 1, 1962, and were as- 
sisted in meeting their travel expenses by a loan of $435.71 from the 
U.S. Department of State. Two weeks later they arrived in Fort 
Worth, Tex. 

For a few weeks Oswald, his wife and child lived with Oswald's 
brother Robert. After a similar stay with Oswald's mother, they 
moved into their own apartment in early August. Oswald obtained 
a job on July 16 as a sheet metal worker. During this period in 
Fort Worth, Oswald was interviewed twice by agents of the FBI. 
The report of the first interview, which occurred on June 26, described 
him as arrogant and unwilling to discuss the reasons why he had 
gone to the Soviet Union. Oswald denied that he was involved in 
Soviet intelligence activities and promised to advise the FBI if Soviet 
representatives ever communicated with him. He was interviewed 
again on August 16, when he displayed a less belligerent attitude and 
once again agreed to inform the FBI of any attempt to enlist him in 
intelligence activities. 

In early October 1962 Oswald quit his job at the sheet metal plant 
and moved to Dallas. While living in Forth Worth the Oswalds 
had been introduced to a group of Russian-speaking people in the 
Dallas- Fort Worth area. Many of them assisted the Oswalds by pro- 
viding small amounts of food, clothing, and household items. Os- 
wald himself was disliked by almost all of this group whose help 
to the family was prompted primarily by sympathy for Marina Oswald 
and the child. Despite the fact that he had left the Soviet Union, 
disillusioned with its Government, Oswald seemed more firmly 
committed than ever to his concepts of Marxism. He showed disdain 
for democracy, capitalism, and American society in general. He was 
highly critical of the Russian-speaking group because they seemed de- 
voted to American concepts of democracy and capitalism and were 
ambitious to improve themselves economically. 

In February 1963 the Oswalds met Ruth Paine at a social gather- 
ing. Ruth Paine was temporarily separated from her husband and 
living with her two children in their home in Irving, Tex., a suburb 
of Dallas. Because of an interest in the Russian language and 
sympathy for Marina Oswald, w^ho spoke no English and had little 
funds, Ruth Paine befriended Marina and, during the next 2 months, 
visited her on several occasions. 

On April 6, 1963, Oswald lost his job with a photography firm. 
A few days later, on April 10, he attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin 


A. Walker (Kesigned, U.S. Army) , using a rifle which he had ordered 
by mail 1 month previously under an assumed name. Marina Oswald 
learned of her husband's act when she confronted him with a note 
which he had left, giving her instructions in the event he did not 
return. That incident and their general economic difficulties im- 
pelled Marina Oswald to suggest that her husband leave Dallas and 
go to New Orleans to look for work. 

Oswald left for New Orleans on April 24, 1963. Ruth Paine, who 
knew nothing of the Walker shooting, invited Marina Oswald and 
the baby to stay with her in the Paines' modest home while Oswald 
sought work in New Orleans. Early in May, upon receiving word 
from Oswald that he had found a job, Ruth Paine drove Marina 
Oswald and the baby to New Orleans to rejoin Oswald. 

During the stay in New Orleans, Oswald formed a fictitious New 
Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. He posed 
as secretary of this organization and represented that the president 
was A. J. Hidell. In reality, Hidell was a completely fictitious per- 
son created by Oswald, the organization's only member. Oswald was 
arrested on August 9 in connection with a scuffle which occurred while 
he was distributing pro-Castro leaflets. Tlie next day, while at the 
police station, he was interviewed by an FBI agent after Oswald 
requested the police to arrange such an interview. Oswald gave the 
agent false information about his own background and was evasive 
in his replies concerning Fair Play for Cuba activities. During the 
next 2 weeks Oswald appeared on radio programs twice, claiming 
to be the spokesman for the Fair Play for Cuba Conmiittee in New 

On July 19, 1963, Oswald lost his job as a greaser of coffee processing 
machinery. In September, after an exchange of correspondence with 
Marina Oswald, Ruth Paine drove to New Orleans and on September 
23, transported Marina, the child, and the family belongings to Irving^ 
Tex. Ruth Paine suggested that Marina Oswald, who was expecting 
her second child in October, live at the Paine house until after the 
baby was born. Oswald remained behind, ostensibly to find work 
either in Houston or some other city. Instead, he departed by bus for 
Mexico, arriving in Mexico City on September 27, where he promptly 
visited the Cuban and Russian Embassies. His stated objective was 
to obtain official permission to visit Cuba, on liis way to the Soviet 
Union. The Cuban Government would not grant his visa unless the 
Soviet Government would also issue a visa permitting his entry into 
Russia. Oswald's efforts to secure these visas failed, and he left for 
Dallas, where he arrived on October 3, 19.63. 

When he saw his wife the next day, it was decided that Oswald 
would rent a room in Dallas and visit his family on weekends. For 
1 week he rented a room from Mrs. Bledsoe, the woman who later saw 
him on the bus shortly after the assassination. On October 14, 1963, 
he rented the Beckley Avenue room and listed his name as O. H. Lee. 
On the same day, at the suggestion of a neighbor, Mrs. Paine phoned 
the Texas School Book Depository and was told that there was a job 


opening. She informed Oswald who was interviewed the following 
day at the Depository and started to work there on October 16, 1963. 

On October 20 the Oswalds' second daughter was born. During Oc- 
tober and November Oswald established a general pattern of weekend 
visits to Irving, arriving on Friday afternoon and returning to Dallas 
Monday morning with a fellow employee, Buell Wesley Frazier, who 
lived near the Paines. On Friday, November 15, Oswald remained in 
Dallas at the suggestion of his wife who told him that the house would 
be crowded because of a birthday party for Euth Paine's daughter. 
On Monday, November 18, Oswald and his wife quarreled bitterly 
during a telephone conversation, because she learned for the first time 
that he was living at the roominghouse under an assumed name. On 
Thursday, November 21, Oswald told Frazier that he would like to 
drive to Irving to pick up some curtain rods for an apartment in 
Dallas. His wife and Mrs. Paine were quite surprised to see him since 
it was a Thursday night. They thought he had returned to make up 
after Monday's quarrel. He was conciliatory, but Marina Oswald was 
still angry. 

Later that evening, when Mrs. Paine had finished cleaning the 
kitchen, she went into the garage and noticed that the light was burn- 
ing. She was certain that she had not left it on, although the incident 
appeared unimportant at the time. In the garage were most of the 
Oswalds' personal possessions. The following morning Oswald left 
while his wife was still in bed feeding the baby. She did not see him 
leave the house, nor did Kuth Paine. On the dresser in their room he 
left his wedding ring which he had never done before. His wallet 
containing $170 was left intact in a dresser- drawer. 

Oswald walked to Frazier's house about half a block away and placed 
a long bulky package, made out of wrapping paper and tape, into the 
rear seat of the car. He told Frazier that the package contained cur- 
tain rods. When they reached the Depository parking lot, Oswald 
walked quickly ahead. Frazier followed and saw Oswald enter the 
Depository Building carrying the long bulky package with him. 

During the morning of November 22, Marina Oswald followed 
President Kennedy's activities on television. She and Ruth Paine 
cried when they heard that the President had been shot. Ruth Paine 
translated the news of the shooting to Marina Oswald as it came over 
television, including the report that the shots were probably fired from 
the building where Oswald worked. When Marina Oswald heard 
this, she recalled the Walker episode and the fact that her hus- 
band still owned the rifle. She went quietly to the Paine's garage 
where the rifle had been concealed in a blanket among their other 
belongings. It appeared to her that the rifle was still there, although 
she did not actually open the blanket. 

At about 3 p.m. the police arrived at the Paine house and asked 
Marina Oswald whether her husband owned a rifle. She said that he 
did and then led them into the garage and pointed to the rolled up 
blanket. As a police officer lifted it, the blanket hung limply over 
either side of his arm. The rifle was not there. 


Meanwhile, at police headquarters, Captain Fritz had begun ques- 
tioning Oswald. Soon after the start of the first interrogation, agents 
of the FBI and the U.S. Secret Service arrived and participated in 
the questioning. Oswald denied having anything to do with the assas- 
sination of President Kennedy or the murder of Patrolman Tippit. 
He claimed that he was eating limch at the time of the assassi- 
nation, and that he then spoke with his foreman for 5 to 10 
minutes before going home. He denied that he owned a rifle and when 
confronted, in a subsequent interview, with a picture showing him 
holding a rifle and pistol, he claimed that his face had been super- 
imposed on someone else's body. He refused to answer any questions 
about the presence in his wallet of a selective service card with his 
picture and the name "Alek J. Hidell." 

During the questioning of Oswald on the third floor of the police 
department, more than 100 representatives of the press, radio, and tele- 
vision were crowded into the hallway through which Oswald had to 
pass when being taken from his cell to Captain Fritz' office for inter- 
rogation. Reporters tried to interview Oswald during these 
trips. Between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning he appeared 
in the hallway at least 16 times. The generally confused conditions 
outside and inside Captain Fritz' office increased the difficulty of po- 
lice questioning. Advised by the police that he could communicate 
with an attorney, Oswald made several telephone calls on Saturday in 
an effort to procure representation of his own choice and discussed the 
matter with the president of the local bar association, who offered to 
obtain counsel. Oswald declined the offer saying that he would first 
try to obtain counsel by himself. By Sunday morning he had not yet 
engaged an attorney. 

At 7 :10 p.m. on November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald was formally 
advised that he had been charged with the murder of Patrolman J. D. 
Tippit. Several witnesses to the Tippit slaying and to the subsequent 
flight of the gunman had positively identified Oswald in police lineups. 
While positive firearm identification evidence was not available at the 
time, the revolver in Oswald's possession at the time of his arrest was 
of a type which could have fired the shots that killed Tippit. 

The formal charge against Oswald for the assassination of Presi- 
dent Kennedy was lodged shortly after 1 :30 a.m., on Saturday, No- 
vember 23. By 10 p.m. of the day of the assassination, the FBI had 
traced the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book 
Depository to a mailorder house in Chicago which had purchased it 
from a distributor in New York. Approximately 6 hours later the 
Chicago firm advised that this rifle had been ordered in March 1963 
by an A. Hidel for shipment to post office box 2915, in Dallas, Tex., a 
box rented by Oswald. Payment for the rifle was remitted by a 
money order signed by A. Hidell. By 6 :45 p.m. on November 23, the 
FBI was able to advise the Dallas police that, as a result of hand- 
writing analysis of the documents used to purchase the rifle, it had 
concluded that the rifle had been ordered by Lee Harvey Oswald. 


Throughout Friday and Saturday, the Dallas police released to the 
public many of the details concerning the alleged evidence against 
Oswald. Police officials discussed important aspects of the case, 
usually in the course of impromptu and confused press conferences in 
the third-floor corridor. Some of the information divulged was er- 
roneous. Efforts by the news media representatives to reconstruct the 
crime and promptly report details frequently led to erroneous and 
often conflicting reports. At the urgings of the newsmen. Chief of 
Police Jesse E. Curry, brought Oswald to a press conference in the 
police assembly room shortly after midnight of the day Oswald was 
arrested. The assembly room was crowded with newsmen who had 
come to Dallas from all over the country. They shouted questions at 
Oswald and flashed cameras at him. Among this group was a 52-year- 
old Dallas nightclub operator — Jack Ruby. 

On Sunday morning, November 24, arrangements were made for 
Oswald's transfer from the city jail to the Dallas County jail, about 
1 mile away. The news media had been informed on Saturday night 
that the transfer of Oswald would not take place until after 10 a.m. 
on Sunday. Earlier on Sunday, between 2 :30 and 3 a.m., anonymous 
telephone calls threatening Oswald's life had been received by the 
Dallas office of the FBI and by the office of the county sheriff. Never- 
theless, on Sunday morning, television, radio, and newspaper repre- 
sentatives crowded into the basement to record the transfer. As 
viewed through television cameras, Oswald would emerge from a door 
in front of the cameras and proceed to the transfer vehicle. To the 
right of the cameras was a "down" ramp from Main Street on the 
north. To the left was an "up" ramp leading to Commerce Street on 
the south. 

The armored truck in which Oswald was to be transferred arrived 
shortly after 11 a.m. Police officials then decided, however, that an 
unmarked police car would be preferable for the trip because of 
its greater speed and maneuverability. At approximately 11 :20 a.m. 
Oswald emerged from the basement jail office flanked by detectives on 
either side and at his rear. He took a few steps toward the car and was 
in the glaring light of the television cameras when a man suddenly 
darted out from an area on the right of the cameras where newsmen 
had been assembled. The man was carrying a Colt .38 revolver in his 
right hand and, while millions watched on television, he moved quickly 
to within a few feet of Oswald and fired one shot into Oswald's 
abdomen. Oswald groaned with pain as he fell to the ground and 
quickly lost consciousness. Within 7 minutes Oswald was at Parkland 
Hospitai where, without having regained consciousness, he was pro- 
nounced dead at 1 :07 p.m. 

The man who killed Oswald was Jack Ruby. He w^as instantly 
arrested and, minutes later, confined in a cell on the fifth floor of the 
Dallas police jail. Under interrogation, he denied that the killing 
of Oswald was in any way connected with a conspiracy involving the 
assassination of President Kennedy. He maintained that he had 
killed Oswald in a temporary fit of depression and rage over the 


President's death. Ruby was transferred the following day to the 
county jail without notice to the press or to police officers not directly 
involved in the transfer. Indicted for the murder of Oswald by the 
State of Texas on November 26, 1963, Ruby was found guilty on 
March 14, 1964, and sentenced to death. As of September 1964, his 
case was pending on appeal. 


This Commission was created to ascertain the facts relating to the 
preceding summary of events and to consider the important questions 
which they raised. The Commission has addressed itself to this task 
and has reached certain conclusions based on all the available evi- 
dence. No limitations have been placed on the Commission's inquiry ; 
it has conducted its own investigation, and all Government agencies 
have fully discharged their responsibility to cooperate with the Com- 
mission in its investigation. These conclusions represent the reasoned 
judgment of all members of the Commission and are presented after 
an investigation which has satisfied the Commission that it has ascer- 
tained the truth concerning the assassination of President Kennedy 
to the extent that a prolonged and thorough search makes this 

1. The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded Gov- 
ernor Connally were fired from the sixth floor window at the south- 
east comer of the Texas School Book Depository. This determination 
is based upon the following: 

(a) Witnesses at the scene of the assassination saw a rifle being 
fired from the sixth floor window of the Depository Building, 
and some witnesses saw a rifle in the window immediately after 
the shots were fired. 

(h) The nearly whole bullet found on Governor Connally's 
stretcher at Parkland Memorial Hospital and the two bullet frag- 
ments found in the front seat of the Presidential limousine were 
fired from the 6.5-millimeter Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found on 
the sixth floor of the Depository Building to the exclusion of all 
other weapons. 

(c) The three used cartridge cases found near the window on 
the sixth floor at the southeast comer of the building were fired 
from the same rifle which fired the above- described bullet and 
fragments, to the exclusion of all other weapons. 

(d) The windshield in the Presidential limousine was struck 
by a bullet fragment on the inside surface of the glass, but was not 

(e) The nature of the bullet wounds suffered by President 
Kennedy and Governor Connally and the location of the car at 
the time of the shots establish that the bullets were fired from 
above and behind the Presidential limousine, striking the Presi- 
dent and the Governor as follows : 


(1) President Kennedy was first struck by a bullet which 
entered at the back of his neck and exited through the lower 
front portion of his neck, causing a wound which would not 
necessarily have been lethal. The President was struck a sec- 
ond time by a bullet which entered the right-rear portion 
of his head, causing a massive and fatal wound. 

(2) Governor Connally was struck by a bullet which 
entered on the right side of his back and traveled downward 
through the right side of his chest, exiting below his right 
nipple. This bullet then passed through his right wrist and 
entered his left thigh where it caused a superficial wound. 

(/) There is no credible evidence that the shots were fired from 
the Triple Underpass, ahead of the motorcade, or from any other 

2. The weight of the evidence indicates that there were three shots 

3. Although it is not necessary to any essential findings of the Com- 
mission to determine just which shot hit Governor Connally, there is 
very persuasive evidence from the experts to indicate that the same 
bullet which pierced the President's throat also caused Governor Con- 
nally's wounds. However, Governor Connally 's testimony and certain 
other factors have given rise to some difference of opinion as to this 
probability but there is no question in the mind of any member of the 
Commission that all the shots which caused the President's and Gov- 
ernor Connally's wounds were fired from the sixth floor window of 
the Texas School Book Depository. 

4. The shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded 
Governor Connally were fired by Lee Harvey Oswald. This con- 
clusion is based upon the following : 

(a) The Mannlicher-Carcano 6. 5 -millimeter Italian rifle from 
which the shots were fired was owned by and in the possession of 

(h) Oswald carried this rifle into the Depository Building 
on the morning of November 22, 1963. 

(c) Oswald, at the time of the assassination, was present at 
the window from which the shots were fired. 

(d) Shortly after the assassination, the Mannlicher-Carcano 
rifle belonging to Oswald was found partially hidden between 
some cartons on the sixth floor and the improvised paper bag in 
which Oswald brought the rifle to the Depository was found close 
by the window from which the shots were fired. 

(e) Based on testimony of the experts and their analysis of 
films of the assassination, the Commission has concluded that a 
rifleman of Lee Harvey Oswald's capabilities could have fired 
the shots from the rifle used in the assassination within the 
elapsed time of the shooting. The Commission has concluded 
further that Oswald possessed the capability with a rifle which 
enabled him to commit the assassination. 


(/) Oswald lied to the police after his arrest concerning im- 
portant substantive matters. 

{g) Oswald had attempted to kill Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker 
(Resigned, U.S. Army) on April 10, 1963, thereby demonstrating 
his disposition to take human life. 

5. Oswald killed Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. Tippit approxi- 
mately 45 minutes after the assassination. This conclusion upholds 
the finding that Oswald fired the shots which killed President Ken- 
nedy and wounded Governor Connally and is supported by the 
following : 

{a) Two eyewitnesses saw the Tippit shooting and seven 
eyewitnesses heard the shots and saw the gunman leave the scene 
^ with revolver in hand. These nine eyewitnesses positively iden- 
tified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man they saw. 

{h) The cartridge cases found at the scene of the shooting were 
fired from the revolver in the possession of Oswald at the time 
of his arrest to the exclusion of all other weapons. 

{c) The revolver in Oswald's possession at the time of his ar- 
rest was purchased by and belonged to Oswald. 

{d) Oswald's jacket was found along the path of flight taken 
by the gunman as he fled from the scene of the killing. 

6. Within 80 minutes of the assassination and 35 minutes of the 
Tippit killing Oswald resisted arrest at the theatre by attempting to 
shoot another Dallas police officer. 

7. The Commission has reached the following conclusions concern- 
ing Oswald's interrogation and detention by the Dallas police : 

{a) Except for the force required to effect his arrest, Oswald 
was not subjected to any physical coercion by any law enforce- 
ment officials. He was advised that he could not be compelled 
to give any information and that any statements made by him 
might be used against him in court. He was advised of his right 
to counsel. He was given the opportunity to obtain counsel of 
his own choice and was offered legal assistance by the Dallas Bar 
Association, which he rejected at that time. 

(b) Newspaper, radio, and television reporters were allowed 
uninhibited access to the area through which Oswald had to pass 
when he was moved from his cell to the interrogation room and 
other sections of the building, thereby subjecting Oswald to harass- 
ment and creating chaotic conditions which were not conducive to 
orderly interrogation or the protection of the rights of the 

{c) The numerous statements, sometimes erroneous, made to 
the press by various local law enforcement officials, during this 
period of confusion and disorder in the police station, would have 
presented serious obstacles to the obtaining of a fair trial for 
Oswald. To the extent that the information was erroneous or 
misleading, it helped to create doubts, speculations, and fears in 
the mind of the public which might otherwise not have arisen. 


8. The Commission has reached the following conclusions concern- 
ing the killing of Oswald by Jack Euby on November 24, 1963 : 

(a) Ruby entered the basement of the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment shortly after 11 :17 a.m. and killed Lee Harvey Oswald at 
11 :21 a.m. 

(b) Although the evidence on Ruby's means of entry is not 
conclusive, the weight of the evidence indicates that he walked 
down the ramp leading from Main Street to the basement of the 
police department. 

{c) There is no evidence to support the rumor that Ruby may 
have been assisted by any members of the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment in the killing of Oswald. 

(d) The Dallas Police Department's decision to transfer 
Oswald to the county jail in full public view was unsound. The 
arrangements made by the police department on Sunday morning, 
only a few hours before the attempted transfer, were inadequate. 
Of critical importance was the fact that news media representa- 
tives and others were not excluded from the basement even after 
the police were notified of threats to Oswald's life. These de- 
ficiencies contributed to the death of Lee Harvey Oswald. 

9. The Commission has found no evidence that either Lee Harvey 
Oswald or Jack Ruby was part of any conspiracy, domestic or foreign, 
to assassinate President Kennedy. The reasons for this conclusion 
are : 

(a) The Commission has found no evidence that anyone assisted 
Oswald in planning or carrying out the assassination. In this 
connection it has thoroughly investigated, among other factors, 
the circumstances surrounding the planning of the motorcade 
route through Dallas, the hiring of Oswald by the Texas School 
Book Depository Co. on October 15, 1963, the method by which 
the rifle was brought into the building, the placing of cartons of 
books at the window, Oswald's escape from the building, and the 
testimony of eyewitnesses to the shooting. 

(h) The Commission has found no evidence that Oswald was 
involved with any person or group in a conspiracy to assassinate 
the President, although it has thoroughly investigated, in addition 
to other possible leads, all facets of Oswald's associations, finances, 
and personal habits, particularly during the period following his 
return from the Soviet Union in June 1962. 

(c) The Commission has found no evidence to show that Os- 
wald was employed, persuaded, or encouraged by any foreign 
government to assassinate President Kennedy or that he was an 
agent of any foreign government, although the Commission has 
reviewed the circumstances surrounding Oswald's defection to 
the Soviet Union, his life there from October of 1959 to June of 
1962 so far as it can be reconstructed, his known contacts with the 
Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and his visits to the Cuban and 
Soviet Embassies in Mexico City during his trip to Mexico from 


September 26 to October 3, 1963, and his known contacts with 
the Soviet Embassy in the United States. 

{d) The Commission has explored all attempts of Oswald to 
identify himself with various political groups, including the Com- 
munist Party, U.S.A., the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and 
. the Socialist Workers Party, and has been unable to find any evi- 
dence that the contacts which he initiated were related to Oswald's 
subsequent assassination of the President. 

{e) All of the evidence before the Commission established that 
there was nothing to support the speculation that Oswald was 
an agent, employee, or informant of the FBI, the CIA, or any 
other governmental agency. It has thoroughly investigated 
Oswald's relationships prior to the assassination with all agencies 
of the U.S. Government. All contacts with Oswald by any of 
these agencies were made in the regular exercise of their different 

(/) No direct or mdirect relationship between Lee Harvey 
Oswald and Jack Ruby has been discovered by the Commission, 
nor has it been able to find any credible evidence that either knew 
the other, although a thorough investigation was made of the 
many rumors and speculations of such a relationship. 

{g) The Commission has found no evidence that Jack Ruby 
acted with any other person in the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. 

{h) After careful investigation the Connnission has found no 
credible evidence either that Ruby and Officer Tippit, who was 
killed by Oswald, knew each other or that Oswald and Tippit 
knew each other. 

Because of the difficulty of proving negatives to a certainty the 
possibility of others being involved with either Oswald or Ruby 
cannot be established categorically, but if there is any such evi- 
dence it has been beyond the reach of all the investigative agencies 
and resources of the United States and has not come to the atten- 
tion of this Commission. 

10. In its entire investigation the Commission has found no evidence 
of conspiracy, subversion, or disloyalty to the L^.S. Government by 
any Federal, State, or local official. 

11. On the basis of the evidence before the Commission it concludes 
that Oswald acted alone. Therefore, to determine the motives for the 
assassination of President Kennedy, one must look to the assassin him- 
self. Clues to Oswald's motives can be found in his familj^ history, his 
education or lack of it, his acts, his writings, and the recollections of 
those who had close contacts with him throughout his life. The Com- 
mission has presented with this report all of the background informa- 
tion bearing on motivation which it could discover. Thus, others 
may study Lee Oswald's life and arrive at their own conclusions as 
to his possible motives. 

The Commission could not make any definitive determination of 
Oswald's motives. It has endeavored to isolate factors which con- 


tributed to his character and which might have influenced his decision 
to assassinate President Kennedy. These factors were: 

(a) His deep-rooted resentment of all authority which was 
expressed in a hostility toward every society in which he lived ; 

(h) His inability to enter into meaningful relationships with 
people, and a continuous pattern of rejecting his environment in 
favor of new surroundings ; 

(c) His urge to try to find a place in history and despair at 
times over failures in his various undertakings ; 

(d) His capacity for violence as evidenced by his attempt to 
kill General Walker ; 

(e) His avowed commitment to Marxism and communism, as 
he understood the terms and developed his own interpretation of 
them; this was expressed by his antagonism toward the United 
States, by his defection to the Soviet Union, by his failure to be 
reconciled with life in the United States even after his disenchant- 
ment with the Soviet Union, and by his efforts, though frustrated, 
to go to Cuba. 

Each of these contributed to his capacity to risk all in cruel and 
irresponsible actions. 

12. The Commission recognizes that the varied responsibilities of 
the President require that he make frequent trips to all parts of the 
United States and abroad. Consistent with their high responsibilities 
Presidents can never be protected from every potential threat. The 
Secret Service's difficulty in meeting its protective responsibility varies 
with the activities and the nature of the occupant of the Office of Presi- 
dent and his willingness to conform to plans for his safety. In ap- 
praising the performance of the Secret Service it should be understood 
that it has to do its work within such limitations. Nevertheless, the 
Commission believes that recommendations for improvements in 
Presidential protection are compelled by the facts disclosed in ,this 

(a) The complexities of the Presidency have increased so 
rapidly in recent years that the Secret Service has not been able to 
develop or to secure adequate resources of personnel and facilities 
to fulfill its important assignment. This situation should be 
promptly remedied. 

(h) The Commission has concluded that the criteria and pro- 
cedures of the Secret Service designed to identify and protect 
against persons considered threats to the president, were not 
adequate prior to the assassination. 

(1) The Protective Eesearch Section of the Secret Serv- 
ice, which is responsible for its preventive work, lacked suffi- 
cient trained personnel and the mechanical and technical 
assistance needed to fulfill its responsibility. 

(2) Prior to the assassination the Secret Service's criteria 
dealt with direct threats against the President. Although the 
S^ret Service treated the direct threats against the President 
adequately, it failed to recognize the necessity of identifying 


other potential sources of danger to his security. The Secret 
Service did not develop adequate and specific criteria defining 
those persons or groups who might present a danger to the 
President. In effect, the Secret Service largely relied upon 
other Federal or State agencies to supply the information 
necessary for it to fulfill its preventive responsibilities, al- 
though it did ask for information about direct threats to the 

(c) The Commission has concluded that there was insufficient 
liaison and coordination of information between the Secret Service 
and other Federal agencies necessarily concerned with Presi- 
dential protection. Although the FBI, in the normal exercise of 
its responsibility, had secured considerable information about Lee 
Harvey Oswald, it had no official responsibility, under the Secret 
Service criteria existing at the time of the President's trip to 
Dallas, to refer to the Secret Service the information it had about 
Oswald. The Commission has concluded, however, that the FBI 
took an unduly restrictive view of its role in preventive intelli- 
gence work prior to the assassination. A more carefully coordi- 
nated treatment of the Oswald case by the FBI might well have 
resulted in bringing Oswald's activities to the attention of the 
Secret Service. 

(d) The Commission has concluded that some of the advance 
preparations in Dallas made by the Secret Service, such as the 
detailed security measures taken at Love Field and the Trade 
Mart, were thorough and well executed. In other respects, how- 
ever, the Commission has concluded that the advance prepara- 
tions for the President's trip were deficient. 

(1) Although the Secret Service is compelled to rely to a 
great extent on local law enforcement officials, its procedures 
at the time of the Dallas trip did not call for well-defined 
instructions as to the respective responsibilities of the police 
officials and others assisting in the protection of the President. 

(2) The procedures relied upon by the Secret Service for 
detecting the presence of an assassin located in a building 
along a motorcade route were inadequate. At the time of 
the trip to Dallas, the Secret Sendee as a matter of practice 
did not investigate, or cause to be checked, any building 
located along the motorcade route to be taken by the Presi- 
dent. The respK)nsibility for observing windows in these 
buildings during the motorcade was divided between local 
police personnel stationed on the streets to regulate crowds 
and Secret Service agents riding in the motorcade. Based 
on its investigation the Commission has concluded that these 
arrangements during the trip to Dallas were clearly not 

(e) The configuration of the Presidential car and the seating 
arrangements of the Secret Service agents in the car did not afford 

the Secret Service agents the opportunity they should have had to 
be of immediate assistance to the President at the first sign of 

(/) Within these limitations, however, the Commission finds 
that the agents most immediately responsible for the President's 
safety reacted promptly at the time the shots were fired from 
the Texas School Book Depository Building. 


Prompted by the assassination of President Kennedy, the Secret 
Service has initiated a comprehensive and critical review of its total 
operations. As a result of studies conducted during the past several 
months, and in cooperation with this Commission, the Secret Service 
has prepared a planning document dated August 27, 1964, which 
recommends various programs considered necessary by the Service 
to improve its techniques and enlarge its resources. The Commission 
is encouraged by the efforts taken by the Secret Service since the 
assassination and suggests the fol] owing recommendations. 

1. A committee of Cabinet members including the Secretary of the 
Treasury and the Attorney General, or the National Security Coun- 
cil, should be assigned the responsibility of reviewing and overseeing 
the protective activities of the Secret Service and the other Federal 
agencies that assist in safeguarding the President. Once given this 
responsibility, such a committee would insure that the maximum re- 
sources of the Federal Government are fully engaged in the task of 
protecting the President, and would provide guidance in defining the 
general nature of domestic and foreign dangers to Presidential 

2. Suggestions have been advanced to the Commission for the trans- 
fer of all or parts of the Presidential protective responsibilities of 
the Secret Service to some other department or agency. The Com- 
mission believes that if there is to be any determination of whether 
or not to relocate these responsibilities and functions, it ought to be 
made by the Executive and the Congress, perhaps upon recommenda- 
tions based on studies by the previously suggested committee. 

3. Meanwhile, in order to improve daily supervision of the Secret 
Service within the Department of the Treasury, the Commission rec- 
ommends that the Secretary of the Treasury appoint a special assist- 
ant with the responsibility of supervising the Secret Service. This 
special assistant should have sufficient stature and experience in law 
enforcement, intelligence, and allied fields to provide effective con- 
tinuing supervision, and to keep the Secretary fully informed re- 
garding the performance of the Secret Service. One of the initial 
assignments of this special assistant should be the supervision of the 
current effort by the Secret Service to revise and modernize its basic 
operating procedures. 


730-900 0-64— 4 

4. The Commission recommends that the Secret Service completely 
overhaul its facilities devoted to the advance detection of potential 
threats against the President. The Commission suggests the follow- 
ing measures. 

(a) The Secret Service should develop as quickly as possible 
more useful and precise criteria defining those potential threats 
to the President which should be brought to its attention by other 
agencies. The criteria should, among other additions, provide 
for prompt notice to the Secret Service of all returned defectors. 

(h) The Secret Service should expedite its current plans to 
utilize the most efficient data-processing techniques. 

(c) Once the Secret Service has fonnulated new criteria de- 
lineating the information it desires, it should enter into agree- 
ments with each Federal agency to insure its receipt of such 

5. The Commission recommends that the Secret Service improve 
the protective measures followed in the planning, and conducting of 
Presidential motorcades. In particular, the Secret Service should 
continue its current efforts to increase the precautionary attention 
given to buildings along the motorcade route. 

6. The Commission recommends that the Secret Service continue 
its recent efforts to improve and formalize its relationships with local 
police departments in areas to be visited by the President. 

7. The Commission believes that when the new criteria and pro- 
cedures are established, the Secret Service will not have sufficient per- 
sonnel or adequate facilities. The Commission recommends that the 
Secret Service be provided with the personnel and resources which 
the Service and the Department of the Treasury may be able to demon- 
strate are needed to fulfill its important mission. 

8. Even with an increase in Secret Service personnel, the protection 
of the President will continue to require the resources and cooperation 
of many Federal agencies. The Commission recommends that these 
agencies, specifically the FBI, continue the practice as it has developed, 
particularly since the assassination, of assisting the Secret Service upon 
request by providing personnel or other aid, and that there be a closer 
association and liaison between the Secret Service and all Federal 

9. The Commission recommends that the President's physician al- 
ways accompany him during his travels and occupy a position near the 
President where he can be immediately available in case of any 

10. The Commission recommends to Congress that it adopt legis- 
lation which would make the assassination of the President and Vice 
President a Federal crime. A state of affairs where U.S. authorities 
have no clearly defined jurisdiction to investigate the assassination of 
a President is anomalous. 

11. The Commission has examined the Department of State's han- 
dling of the Oswald matters and finds that it followed the law 


throughout. However, the Commission believes that the Department 
in accordance with its own regulations should in all cases exercise 
great care in the return to this country of defectors who have evidenced 
disloyalty or hostility to this country or who have expressed a desire 
to renounce their American citizenship and that when such persons 
are so returned, procedures should be adopted for the better dissemi- 
nation of information concerning them to the intelligence agencies of 
the Government. 

12. The Commission recommends that the representatives of the bar, 
law enforcement associations, and the neAvs media work together to 
establish ethical standards concerning the collection and presentation 
of information to the public so that there will be no interference with 
pending criminal investigations, court proceedings, or the right of 
individuals to a fair trial. 



The Assassination 

THIS CHAPTER describes President Kennedy's trip to Dallas, 
from its origin through its tragic conclusion. The narrative 
of these events is based largely on the recollections of the 
participants, although in many instances documentary or other evi- 
dence has also been used by the Commission. Begimiing with the 
advance plans and Secret Service preparations for the trip, this chap- 
ter reviews the motorcade through Dallas, the fleeting moments of 
the assassination, the activities at Parkland Memorial Hospital, and 
the return of the Presidential party to Washington. An evaluation 
of the procedures employed to safeguard the President, with recom- 
mendations for improving these procedures, appears in chapter VIII 
of the report. 


President Kennedy's visit to Texas in November 1963 had been 
under consideration for almost a year before it occurred. He had 
made only a few brief visits to the State since the 1960 Presidential 
campaign and in 1962 he began to consider a formal visit.^ During 
1963, the reasons for making the trip became more persuasive. As a 
political leader, the President wished to resolve the factional contro- 
versy within the Democratic Party in Texas before the election of 1964.^ 
The party itself saw an opportunity to raise funds by having the 
President speak at a political dinner eventually planned for Austin.^ 
As Chief of State, the President always welcomed the opportunity 
to learn, firsthand, about the problems which concerned the American 
people.* Moreover, he looked forward to the public appearances 
which he personally enjoyed.^ 

The basic decision on the November trip to Texas was made at a 
meeting of President Kennedy, Vice President Johnson, and Governor 
Connally on June 5, 1963, at the Cortez Hotel in El Paso, Tex.^ The 
President had spoken earlier that day at the Air Force Academy in 
Colorado Springs, Colo., and had stopped in El Paso to discuss the 
proposed visit and other matters with the Vice President and the 
Governor.^ The three agreed that the President would come to Texas 


in late November 1963.^ The original plan called f,or the President to 
spend only 1 day in the State, making whirlwind visits to Dallas, Fort 
Worth, San Antonio, and Houston.^ In September, the White House 
decided to permit further visits by the President and extended the 
trip to run from the afternoon of November 21 through the evening 
of Friday, November 22/° When Governor Connally called at the 
White House on October 4 to discuss the details of the visit, it was 
agreed that the planning of events in Texas would be left largely to 
the Governor.^^ At the White House, Kenneth O^Donnell, special 
assistant to the President, acted as coordinator for the trip.^^ 

Everyone agreed that, if there was sufficient time, a motorcade 
through downtown Dallas would be the best way for the people to 
see their President. When the trip was planned for only 1 day. 
Governor Connally had opposed the motorcade because there was 
not enough time.^^ The Governor stated, however, that "once we 
got San Antonio moved from Friday to Thursday afternoon, where 
that was his initial stop in Texas, then we had the time, and I with- 
drew my objections to a motorcade." According to O'Donnell, "we 
had a motorcade wherever we went," particularly in large cities where 
the purpose was to let the President be seen by as many people as 
possible.^^ In his experience, "it would be automatic" for the Secret 
Service to arrange a route which would, within the time allotted, 
bring the President "through an area which exposes him to the great- 
est number of people." 


Advance preparations for President Kennedy's visit to Dallas were 
primarily the responsibility of two Secret Service agents: Special 
Agent Winston G. Lawson, a member of the White House detail who 
acted as the advance agent, and Forrest V. Sorrels, special agent in 
charge of the Dallas office.^^ Both agents were advised of the trip on 
November 4.^^ Lawson received a tentative schedule of the Texas 
trip on November 8 from Roy H. Kellerman, assistant special agent 
in charge of the White House detail, who was the Secret Service of- 
ficial responsible for the entire Texas journey.^® As advance agent 
working closely with Sorrels, Lawson had responsibility for arrang- 
ing the timetable for the President's visit to Dallas and coordinating 
local activities with the Wliite House staff, the organizations directly 
concerned with the visit, and local law enforcement officials.-^ Law- 
son's most important responsibilities were to take preventive action 
against anyone in Dallas considered a threat to the President, to select 
the Imicheon site and motorcade route, and to plan security measures 
for the luncheon and the motorcade. 

Preventive Intelligence Activities 

The Protective Research Section (PRS) of the Secret Service main- 
tains records of people who have threatened the President or so con- 


ducted themselves as to be deemed a potential danger to him. On 
November 8, 1963, after midertaking the responsibility for advance 
preparations for the visit to Dallas, Agent Lawson went to the PRS 
offices in Washington. A check of the geographic indexes there re- 
vealed no listing for any individual deemed to be a potential danger 
to the President in the territory of the Secret Service regional office 
which includes Dallas and Fort Worth.^^ 

To supplement the PRS files, the Secret Service depends largely 
on local police departments and local offices of other Federal agencies 
which advise it of potential threats immediately before the visit of 
the President to their community. Upon his arrival in Dallas on 
November 12 Lawson conferred with the local police and the local 
office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation about potential dangers 
to the President. Although there was no mention in PRS files of 
the demonstration in Dallas against Ambassador Adlai Stevenson on 
October 24, 1963, Lawson inquired about the incident and obtained 
through the local police photographs of some of the persons involved.^^ 
On November 22 a Secret Service agent stood at the entrance to the 
Trade Mart, where the President was scheduled to speak, with copies 
of these photographs. Dallas detectives in the lobby of the Trade 
Mart and in the luncheon area also had copies of these photographs. 
A number of people who resembled some of those in the photographs 
were placed under surveillance at the Trade Mart .^^ 

The FBI office in Dallas gave the local Secret Service representa- 
tives the name of a possibly dangerous individual in the Dallas area 
who was investigated. It also advised the Secret Service of the circu- 
lation on November 21 of a handbill sharply critical of President 
Kennedy discussed in chapter VI of this report. Shortly before, 
the Dallas police had reported to the Secret Service that the handbill 
had appeared on the streets of Dallas. Neither the Dallas police nor 
the FBI had yet learned the source of the handbill.^^ No one else was 
identified to the Secret Service through local inquiry as potentially 
dangerous, nor did PRS develop any additional information between 
November 12, when Lawson left Washington, and November 22. The 
adequacy of the intelligence system maintained by the Secret Service 
at the time of the assassination, including a detailed description of 
the available data on Lee Harvey Oswald and the reasons why his 
name had not been furnished to the Secret Service, is discussed in 
chapter VIII. 

The Luncheon Site 

An important purpose of the President's visit to Dallas was to speak 
at a luncheon given by business and civic leaders. The White House 
staff informed the Secret Service that the President would arrive 
and depart from Dallas' Love Field; that a motorcade through the 
downtown area of Dallas to the luncheon site should be arranged; 
and that following the luncheon the President would return to the 
airport by the most direct route. Accordingly, it was important to 


determine the luncheon site as quickly as possible, so that security 
could be established at the site and the motorcade route selected. 

On November 4, Gerald A. Behn, agent in charge of the Wliite House 
detail, asked Sorrels to examine three potential sites for the luncheon.^^ 
One building, Market Hall, was unavailable for November 22. The 
second, the Women's Building at the State Fair Grounds, was a one- 
story building with few entrances and easy to make secure, but it 
lacked necessary food-handling facilities and had certain unattractive 
features, including a low ceiling with exposed conduits and beams. 
The third possibility, the Trade Mart, a handsome new building with 
all the necessary facilities, presented security problems. It had 
numerous entrances, several tiers of balconies surrounding the central 
court where the luncheon would be held, and several catwalks crossing 
the court at each level. On November 4, Sorrels told Behn he believed 
security difficulties at the Trade Mart could be overcome by special 
precautions.^^ Lawson also evaluated the security hazards at the 
Trade Mart on November 13.^^ Kenneth O'Donnell made the final 
decision to hold the luncheon at the Trade Mart; Behn so notified 
Lawson on November 14.^^ 

Once the Trade Mart had been selected. Sorrels and Lawson worked 
out detailed arrangements for security at the building. In addition to 
the preventive measures already mentioned, they provided for con- 
trolling access to the building, closing off and policing areas around 
it, securing the roof and insuring the presence of numerous police offi- 
cers inside and around the building. Ultimately more than 200 law 
enforcement officers, mainly Dallas police but including 8 Secret Serv- 
ice agents, were deployed in and around the Trade Mart.^° 

The Motorcade Route 

On November 8, when Lawson was briefed on the itinerary for the 
trip to Dallas, he was told that 45 minutes had been allotted for a 
motorcade procession from Love Field to the luncheon site.^^ Lawson 
was not specifically instructed to select the parade route, but he under- 
stood that this was one of his functions.^^ Even before the Trade 
Mart had been definitely selected, Lawson and Sorrels began to con- 
sider the best motorcade route from Love Field to the Trade Mart. 
On November 14, Lawson and Sorrels attended a meeting at Love 
Field and on their return to Dallas drove over the route which Sorrels 
believed best suited for the proposed motorcade.^-^ This route, eventu- 
ally selected for the motorcade from the airport to the Trade Mart, 
measured 10 miles and could be driven easily within the allotted 45 
minutes.^* From Love Field the route passed through a portion of 
suburban Dallas, through the downtown area along Main Street and 
then to the Trade Mart via Stemmons Freeway. For the President's 
return to Love Field following the luncheon, the agents selected the 
most direct route, which was approximately 4 miles.^^ 

After the selection of the Trade Mart as the luncheon site, Lawson 
and Sorrels met with Dallas Chief of Police Jesse E. Curry, Assistant 

Chief Charles Batchelor, Deputy Chief N. T. Fisher, and several 
other command officers to discuss details of the motorcade and possible 
routes.^^ The route was further reviewed by Lawson and Sorrels 
with Assistant Chief Batchelor and members of the local host com- 
mittee on November 15. The police officials agreed that the route 
recommended by Sorrels was the proper one and did not express a 
belief that any other route might be better .^^ On November 18, Sorrels 
and Lawson drove over the selected route with Batchelor and other 
police officers, verifying that it could be traversed within 45 minutes. 
Eepresentatives of the local host committee and the White House staff 
were advised by the Secret Service of the actual route on the after- 
noon of November 18.^^ 

The route impressed the agents as a natural and desirable one. 
Sorrels, who had participated in Presidential protection assignments 
in Dallas since a visit by President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936,^^ 
testified that the traditional parade route in Dallas was along Main 
Street, since the tall buildings along the street gave more people an 
opportunity to participate.^^ The route chosen from the airport to 
Main Street was the normal one, except where Harwood Street was 
selected as the means of access to Main Street in preference to a short 
stretch of the Central Expressway, which presented a minor safety 
hazard and could not accommodate spectators as conveniently as Har- 
wood Street.*^ According to Lawson, the chosen route seemed to be 
the best. 

It afforded us wide streets most of the way, because of the buses 
that were in the motorcade. It afforded us a chance to have 
alternative routes if something happened pn the motorcade route. 
It was the type of suburban area a good part of the way where 
the crowds would be able to be controlled for a great distance, 
and we figured that the largest crowds would be downtown, 
which they were, and that the wide streets that we would use 
downtown would be of sufficient width to keep the public out 
of our way.*2 

Elm Street, parallel to Main Street and one block north, was not used 
for the main portion of the downtown part of the motorcade because 
Main Street offered better vantage points for spectators. 

To reach the Trade Mart from Main Street the agents decided to 
use the Stemmons Freeway ( Route No. 77 ) , the most direct route. The 
only practical way for westbound traffic on Main Street to reach the 
northbound lanes of the Stemmons Freeway is via Elm Street, which 
Route No. 77 traffic is instructed to follow in this part of the city. ( See 
Commission Exhibit No. 2113, p. 34.) Elm Street was to be reached 
from Main by turning right at Houston, going one block north and 
then turning left onto Elm. On this last portion of the journey, only 
5 minutes from the Trade Mart, the President's motorcade would pass 
the Texas School Book Depository Building on the northwest corner 
of Houston and Elm Streets. The building overlooks Dealey Plaza, 














Commission Exhibit No. 876 



Commission Exhibii No. 2113 


Coaaamisslon E3chibit 2115 


Commission Exhibit No. 2115 



Commission Exhibit No. 2116 


Commission Exhibit No. 2967 

Traffic sign on Main Street which directs westbound traflSc to turn right at Houston Street 
to gain access to the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike. 


an attractively landscaped triangle of 3 acres. ( See Commission Ex- 
hibit No. 876, p. 33.) From Houston Street, which forms the 
base of the triangle, three streets — Commerce, Main, and Elm — trisect 
the plaza, converging at the apex of the triangle to form a triple un- 
derpass beneath a multiple railroad bridge almost 500 feet from Hous- 
ton Street.*^ Elm Street, the northernmost of the three, after 
intersecting Houston curves in a southwesterly arc through the under- 
pass and leads into an access road, which branches off to the right 
and is used by traffic going to the Stemmons Freeway and the Dallas- 
Fort Worth Turnpike. (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 2113-2116, 
pp. 34-37.) 

The Elm Street approach to the Stemmons Freeway is necessary in 
order to avoid the traffic hazards which would otherwise exist if right 
turns were permitted from both Main and Elm into the freeway. To 
create this traffic pattern, a concrete barrier between Main and Elm 
Streets presents an obstacle to a right turn from Main across Elm to 
the access road to Stemmons Freeway and the Dallas-Fort Worth 
Turnpike. This concrete barrier extends far enough beyond the 
access road to make it impracticable for vehicles to turn right 
from Main directly to the access road. A sign located on this 
barrier instructs Main Street traffic not to make any turns.*^ (See 
Commission Exhibits Nos. 2114-2116, pp. 35-37.) In conformity with 
these arrangements, traffic proceeding west on Main is directed to turn 
right at Houston in order to reach the Dallas-Fort Worth Turnpike, 
vdiich has the same access road from Elm Street as does the Stemmons 
Freeway (See Commission Exhibit No. 2967, p. 38.) 

The planning for the motorcade also included advance preparations 
for security arrangements along the route. Sorrels and Lawson re- 
viewed the route in cooperation with Assistant Chief Batchelor and 
other Dallas police officials who took notes on the requirements for 
controlling the crowds and traffic, watching the overpasses, and pro- 
viding motorcycle escort.*^ To control traffic, arrangements were 
made for the deployment of foot patrolmen and motorcycle police 
at various positions along the route.*^ Police were assigned to each 
overpass on the route and instructed to keep them clear of unauthor- 
ized persons.^^ No arrangements were made for police or building 
custodians to inspect buildings along the motorcade route since the 
Secret Service did not normally request or make such a check.^^ 
Under standard procedures, the responsibility for watching the win- 
dows of buildings was shared by local police stationed along the route 
and Secret Service agents riding in the motorcade. 

As the date for the President's visit approached, the two Dallas 
newspapers carried several reports of his motorcade route. The selec- 
tion of the Trade Mart as the possible site for the luncheon first 
appeared in the Dallas Times-Herald on November 15, 1963.^^ The 
following day, the newspaper reported that the Presidential party 
"apparently will loop through the doAvntown area, probably on Main 
Street, en route from Dallas Love Field" on its way to the Trade 


Mart.^^ On November 19, the Times-Herald afternoon paper detailed 
the precise route : 

From the airport, the President's party will proceed to Mocking- 
bird Lane to Lemmon and then to Turtle Creek, turning south to 
Cedar Springs. 

The motorcade will then pass through downtown on Harwood 
and then west on Main, turning back to Elm at Houston and 
then out Stemmons Freeway to the Trade Mart.^* 

Also on November 19, the Morning News reported that the President's 
motorcade would travel from Love Field along specified streets, then 
"Harwood to Main, Main to Houston, Houston to Elm, Elm under the 
Triple Underpass to Stemmons Freeway, and on to the Trade Mart." 
On November 20 a front page story reported that the streets on 
which the Presidential motorcade would travel included "Main 
and Stemmons Freeway." On the morning of the President's ar- 
rival, the Morning News noted that the motorcade would travel 
through downtown Dallas onto the Stemmons Freeway, and reported 
that "the motorcade will move slowly so that crowds can 'get a good 
view' of President Kennedy and his wife." " 


The President's intention to pay a visit to Texas in the fall of 1963 
aroused interest throughout the State. The two Dallas newspapers 
provided their readers with a steady stream of information and specu- 
lation about the trip, beginning on September 13, when the Times- 
Herald announced in a front page article that President Kennedy 
was planning a brief 1-day tour of four Texas cities — Dallas, Fort 
Worth, San Antonio, and Houston. Both Dallas papers cited White 
House sources on September 26 as confirming the President's intention 
to visit Texas on November 21 and 22, with Dallas scheduled as one 
of the stops.^^ 

Articles, editorials, and letters to the editor in the Dallas Morning 
News and the Dallas Times-Herald after September 13 reflected the 
feeling in the community toward the forthcoming Presidential visit. 
Although there were critical editorials and letters to the editors, the 
news stories reflected the desire of Dallas officials to welcome the 
President with dignity and courtesy. An editorial in the Times- 
Herald of September 17 called on the people of Dallas to be "con- 
genial hosts" even though "Dallas didn't vote for Mr. Kennedy in 
1960, may not endorse him in '64." ®° On October 3 the Dallas Morn- 
ing News quoted U.S. Representative Joe Pool's hope that President 
Kennedy would receive a "good welcome" and would not face demon- 
strations like those encountered by Vice President Johnson during 
the 1960 campaign.^^ 


Increased concern about the President's visit was aroused by the 
incident involving the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, Adlai 
E. Stevenson. On the evening of October 24, 1963, after addressing 
a meeting in Dallas, Stevenson was jeered, jostled, and spat upon by 
hostile demonstrators outside the Dallas Memorial Auditorium The- 
ater.^^ The local, national, and international reaction to this incident 
evoked from Dallas officials and newspapers strong condemnations of 
the demonstrators. Mayor Earle Cabell called on the city to redeem 
itself during President Kennedy's visit.^^ He asserted that Dallas 
had shed its reputation of the twenties as the "Southwest hate capital 
of Dixie." ^* On October 26 the press reported Chief of Police Curry's 
plans to call in 100 extra off-duty officers to help protect President 
Kennedy.^^ Any thought that the President might cancel his visit 
to Dallas was ended when Governor Connally confirmed on Novem- 
ber 8 that the President would come to Texas on November 21-22, 
and that he would visit San Antonio, Houston, Fort Worth, Dallas, 
and Austin.^^ 

During November the Dallas papers reported frequently on the 
plans for protecting the President, stressing the thoroughness of the 
preparations. They conveyed the pleas of Dallas leaders that citizens 
not demonstrate or create disturbances during the President's visit. 
On November 18 the Dallas City Council adopted a new city ordinance 
prohibiting interference with attendance at lawful assemblies.^^ Two 
days before the President's arrival Chief Curry warned that the Dallas 
police would not permit improper conduct during the President's 

Meanwhile, on November 17 the president of the Dallas Chamber of 
Commerce referred to the city's reputation for being the friendliest 
town in America and asserted that citizens would "greet the President 
of the United States with the warmth and pride that keep the Dallas 
spirit famous the world over." Two days later, a local Eepublican 
leader called for a "civilized nonpartisan" welcome for President 
Kennedy, stating that "in many respects Dallas County has isolated 
itself from the main stream of life in the world in this decade." 

Another reaction to the impending visit — hostile to the President — 
came to a head shortly before his arrival. On November 21 there 
appeared on the streets of Dallas the anonymous handbill mentioned 
above. It was fashioned after the "wanted" circulars issued by law 
enforcement agencies. Beneath two photographs of President Ken- 
nedy, one fullface and one profile, appeared the caption, "Wanted 
for Treason," followed by a scurrilous bill of particulars that con- 
stituted a vilification of the President."^^ And on the morning of the 
President's arrival, there appeared in the Morning News a full page, 
black-bordered advertisement headed "Welcome Mr. Kennedy to 
Dallas," sponsored by the American Factfinding Committee, which 
the sponsor later testified was an ad hoc committee "formed strictly 
for the purpose of having a name to put in the paper." The "wel- 
come" consisted of a series of statements and questions critical of the 

730-900 0-64— 5 


President and his administration/^ (See Commission Exhibit Xo. 
1031, p. 294:.) 


The trip to Texas began with the departure of President and Mrs. 
Kemiedy from the White House by helicopter at 10:45 a.m., e.s.t., on 
November 21, 1963, for Andrews AFB. They took olT in the Presi- 
dential plane, Air Force One^ at 11 a.m., arriving at San Antonio at 
1 :30 p.m., c.s.t. They were greeted by Vice President Johnson and 
Governor Connally, who joined the Presidential party in a motorcade 
through San Antonio.'^ During the afternoon, President Kennedy 
dedicated the U.S. Air Force School of Aerospace Medicine at Brooks 
AFB.^° Late in the afternoon he flew to Houston where he rode 
through the city in a motorcade, spoke at the Rice University Stadium, 
and attended a dinner in honor of U.S. Representative Albert 

At Rice Stadium a very large, enthusiastic crowd greeted the Presi- 
dent.'^^ In Houston, as elsewhere during the trip, the crowds showed 
much interest in Mrs. Kennedy. David F. Powers of the President's 
staff later stated that when the President asked for his assessment of 
the day's activities. Powers replied "that the crowd was about the same 
as the one which came to see him before but there were 100,000 extra 
people on hand who came to see Mrs. Kennedy." Late in the eve- 
ning, the Presidential party flew to Fort AVorth where they spent the 
night at the Texas Hotel.'^"^ 

On the morning of Xovember 22, President Kenned}^ attended a 
breakfast at the hotel and afterward addressed a crowd at an open 
parking lot.^° The President liked outdoor appearances because more 
people could see and hear him.®^ Before leaving the hotel, the Presi- 
dent, Mrs. Kennedy, and Kenneth O'Donnell talked about the risks 
inherent in Presidential public appearances.^- According to O'Don- 
nell, the President commented that ''if anybody really wanted to shooi 
the President of the United States, it was not a ver}^ difficult job— all 
one had to do was get a high building someday with a telescopic rifle, 
and there was nothing anybody could do to defend against such an 
attempt." Upon concludmg the conversation, the President pre- 
pared to depart for Dallas. 


In Dallas the rain had stopped, and by midmorning a gloomy over- 
cast sky had given way to the bright sunshine that greeted the Presi- 
dential party when Air Force One touched down at Love Field at 11 :40 
a.m., c.s.t.^^ Governor and Mrs. Comially and Senator Ralph W. 
Yarborough had come with the President from Fort Woith.*° Vice 
President Jolmson's airplane, Air Force Tioo^ had arrived at Love 


Field at approximately 11 :35 a.m., and the Vice President and Mrs. 
Johnson were in the receiving line to greet President and Mrs. 
Kennedy .^^ 

After a welcome from the Dallas reception committee, President 
and Mrs. Kennedy walked along a chain-link fence at the reception 
area greeting a large crowd of spectators that had gathered behind 
it.^^ Secret Service agents formed a cordon to keep the press and 
photographers from impeding their passage and scanned the crowd 
for threatening movements.^^ Dallas police stood at intervals along 
the fence and Dallas plainclothesmen mixed in the crowd.^^ Vice 
President and Mrs. Johnson followed along the fence, guarded by 
four members of the Vice-Presidential detail.^^ Approximately 10 
minutes after the arrival at Love Field, the President and Mrs. Ken- 
nedy went to the Presidential automobile to begin the motorcade.^^ 


Secret Service arrangements for Presidential trips, which were 
followed in the Dallas motorcade, are designed to provide protection 
while permitting large numbers of people to see the President.®^ 
Every effort is made to prevent unscheduled stops, although the 
President may, and in Dallas did, order stops in order to greet the 
public.®^ When the motorcade slows or stops, agents take positions 
between the President and the crowd.^* 

The order of vehicles in the Dallas motorcade was as follows : 
Motorcycles. — Dallas police motorcycles preceded the pilot car.^^ 
The "pilot car. — Manned by officers of the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment, this automobile preceded the main party by approximately a 
quarter of a mile. Its function was to alert police along the route 
that the motorcade was approaching and to check for signs of trouble.^^ 
Motorcycles. — Next came four to six motorcycle policemen whose 
main purpose was to keep the crowd back.^^ 

The lead car. — Described as a "rolling command car," this was 
an unmarked Dallas police car, driven by Chief of Police Curry and 
occupied by Secret Service Agents Sorrels and Lawson and by Dallas 
County Sheriff J. E. Decker. The occupants scanned the crowd 
and the buildings along the route. Their main function was to spot 
trouble in advance and to direct any necessary steps to meet the 
trouble. Following normal practice, the lead automobile stayed ap- 
proximately four to five car lengths ahead of the President's 

The Presidential limousine. — The President's automobile was a 
specially designed 1961 Lincoln convertible with two collapsible 
jump seats between the front and rear seats.^® (See Commission 
Exhibit No. 346, p. 44.) It was outfitted with a clear plastic bubble- 
top which was neither bulletproof nor bullet resistant."" Because 
the skies had cleared in Dallas, Lawson directed that the top not be 
used for the day's activities. He acted on instructions he had re- 


Commission EIxhibit No. 346 
Interior of Presidential limousine used on November 22, 1963. 


ceived earlier from Assistant Special Agent in Charge Roy H. Keller- 
man, who was in Fort Worth with the President.^°^ Kellerman had 
discussed the matter with O'Donnell, whose instructions were, "If the 
weather is clear and it is not raining, have that bubbletop off."^^^ 
Elevated approximately 15 inches above the back of the front seat was 
a metallic frame with four handholds that riders in the car could 
grip while standing in the rear seat during parades.^"^ At the rear on 
each side of the automobile were small running boards, each designed 
to hold a Secret Service agent, with a metallic handle for the rider to 
grasp.^°^ The President had frequently stated that he did not want 
agents to ride on these steps during a motorcade except when neces- 
sary. He had repeated this wish only a few days before, during his 
visit to Tampa, Fla.^^^ 

President Kennedy rode on the right-hand side of the rear seat with 
Mrs. Kennedy on his left.^°^ Governor Connally occupied the right 
jump seat, Mrs. Connally the left.^°^ Driving the Presidential limou- 
sine was Special Agent William R. Greer of the Secret Service; on 
his right sat Kellerman.^^^ Kellerman's responsibilities included 
maintaining radio communications with the lead and followup cars, 
scanning the route, and getting out and standing near the President 
when the cars stopped. 

Motorcycles. — Four motorcycles, two on each side, flanked the rear 
of the Presidential car. They provided some cover for the President, 
but their main purpose was to keep back the crowd.^^^ On previous 
occasions, the President had requested that, to the extent possible, 
these flanking motorcycles keep back from the sides of his car.^^° 

Presidential folloioup car. — This vehicle, a 1955 Cadillac eight- 
passenger convertible especially outfitted for the Secret Service, fol- 
lowed closely behind the President's automobile.^^^ It carried eight 
Secret Service agents — two in the front seat, two in the rear, and two 
on each of the right and left running boards.^^^ Each agent carried a 
.38-caliber pistol, and a shotgun and automatic rifle were also avail- 
able.^^^ Presidential Assistants David F. Powers and Kenneth 
O'Donnell sat in the right and left jump seats, respectively.^^* 

The agents in this car, under established procedure, had instructions 
to watch the route for signs of trouble, scanning not only the crowds 
but the windows and roofs of buildings, overpasses, and crossings.^^^ 
They were instructed to watch particularly for thrown objects, sud- 
den actions in the crowd, and any movements toward the Presidential 
car.^^^ The agents on the front of the running boards had directions 
to move immediately to positions just to the rear of the President 
and Mrs. Kennedy when the President's car slowed to a walking pace 
or stopped, or when the press of the crowd made it impossible for 
the escort motorcycles to stay in position on the car's rear flanks.^^' 
The two agents on the rear of the running boards were to advance 
toward the front of the President's car whenever it stopped or slowed 
down sufficiently for them to do so.^^^ 

Vice-Presidential car. — The Vice- Presidential automobile, a four- 
door Lincoln convertible obtained locally for use in the motor- 


cade, proceeded approximately two to three car lengths behind the 
President's followup car.^^^ This distance was maintained so that 
spectators would normally turn their gaze from the President's auto- 
mobile by the time the Vice President came into view.^^° Vice Presi- 
dent Johnson sat on the right-hand side of the rear seat, Mrs. Johnson 
in the center, and Senator Yarborough on the left.^^^ Rufus W. 
Youngblood, special agent in charge of the Vice President's detail, 
occupied the right-hand side of the front seat, and Hurchel Jacks of 
the Texas State Highway patrol was the driver.^22 

Vice-Presidential followup car. — Driven by an officer of the Dallas 
Police Department, this vehicle was occupied by three Secret Service 
agents and Clifton C. Carter, assistant to the Vice President.^^^ These 
agents performed for the Vice President the same functions that the 
agents in the Presidential followup car performed for the President. 

Remainder of motorcade. — The remainder of the motorcade con- 
sisted of five cars for other dignitaries, including the mayor of Dallas 
and Texas Congressmen, telephone and Western Union vehicles, a 
Wliite House communications car, three cars for press photographers, 
an official party bus for White House staff members and others, and 
two press buses. Admiral George G. Burkley, physician to the Presi- 
dent, was in a car following those "containing the local and national 

Police car and motorcycles}'^^ — A Dallas police car and several 
motorcycles at the rear kept the motorcade together and prevented 
unauthorized vehicles from joining the motorcade. 

Communications in the motorcade}"^^ — A base station at a fixed lo- 
cation in Dallas operated a radio network which linked together the 
lead car. Presidential car. Presidential followup car, Wliite House 
communications car. Trade Mart, Love Field, and the Presidential 
and Vice- Presidential airplanes. The Vice-Presidential car and 
Vice-Presidential followup car used portable sets with a separate fre- 
quency for their own car-to-car communication. 


The motorcade left Love Field shortly after 11 :50 a.m. and drove 
at speeds up to 25 to 30 miles an hour through thinly populated areas 
on the outskirts of Dallas.^^^ At the President's direction, his auto- 
mobile stopped twice, the first time to permit him to respond to a sign 
asking him to shake hands.^^^ During this brief stop, agents in the 
front positions on the running boards of the Presidential followup 
car came forward and stood beside the President's car, looking out 
toward the crowd, and Special Agent Kellerman assumed his posi- 
tion next to the car.^^^ On the other occasion, the President halted 
the motorcade to speak to a Catholic nun and a gr,oup of small 

In the downtown area, large crowds of spectators gave the 
President a tremendous reception.^^^ The crowds were so dense 


Commission Exhibit No. 698 
Presidential limousine in Dallas motorcade. 

that Special Agent Clinton J. Hill had to leave the left front 
running board of the President's followup car four times to ride 
on the rear of the President's limousine.^^^ ( See Commission Exhibit 
No. 698, p. 47.) Several times Special Agent John D. Ready came 
forward from the right front running board of the Presidential 
followup car to the right side of the President's car.^^^ Special Agent 
Glen A. Bennett once left his place inside the followup car to help 
keep the crowd away from the President's car. AYhen a teenage 
boy ran toward the rear of the President's car/^* Ready left the run- 
ning board to chase the boy back into the crowd. On several occasions 
when the Vice President's car was slowed down by the throng, Special 
Agent Youngblood stepped out to hold the crowd back.^^^ 

According to plan, the President's motorcade proceeded west 
through downtown Dallas on Main Street to the intersection of 
Houston Street, which marks the beginning of Dealey Plaza. From 
Main Street the motorcade turned right and went north on Houston 
Street, passing tall buildings on the right, and headed toward the 
Texas School Book Depository Building. The spectators were still 
thickly congregated in front of the buildings which lined the east side 
of Houston Street, but the crowd thinned abruptly along Elm Street, 
which curves in a southwesterly direction as it proceeds downgrade 
toward the Triple Underpass and the Stemmons Freeway .^^^ 

As the motorcade approached the intersection of Houston and Elm 
Streets, there was general gratification in the Presidential party about 
the enthusiastic reception. Evaluating the political overtones, 
Kenneth O'Donnell was especially pleased because it convinced him 
that the average Dallas resident was like other American citizens in 
respecting and admiring the President. Mrs. Connally, elated by 
the reception, turned to President Kennedy and said, "Mr. President, 
you can't say Dallas doesn't love you." The President replied, "That 
is very obvious." 


At 12:30 p.m., c.s.t., as the President's open limousine proceeded 
at approximately 11 miles per hour along Elm Street toward the 
Triple Underpass, shots fired from a rifle mortally wounded President 
Kennedy and seriously injured Governor Connally. One bullet passed 
through the President's neck ; a subsequent bullet, which was lethal, 
shattered the right side of his skull. Governor Connally sustained 
bullet wounds in his back, the right side of his chest, right wrist, and 
left thigh. 

The Time 

The exact time of the assassination was fixed by the testimony of 
four witnesses. Special Agent Rufus W. Youngblood observed that 
the large electric sign clock atop the Texas School Book Depository 
Building showed the numerals "12 :30" as the Vice-Presidential auto- 
mobile proceeded north on Houston Street, a few seconds before the 


shots were fired. J ust prior to the shooting, David F. Powers, riding 
in the Secret Service followup car, remarked to Kenneth O'Donnell 
that it was 12:30 p.m., the time they were due at the Trade Mart.^*^ 
Seconds after the shooting, Roy Kellerman, riding in the front seat of 
the Presidential limousine, looked at his watch and said "12 :30" to 
the driver. Special Agent Greer.^*^ The Dallas police radio log re- 
flects that Chief of Police Curry reported the shooting of the President 
and issued his initial orders at 12 :30 p.m.^^* 

Speed of the Limousine 

William Greer, operator of the Presidential limousine, estimated 
the car's speed at the time of the first shot as 12 to 15 miles per hour.^^^ 
Other witnesses in the motorcade estimated the speed of the Presi- 
dent's limousine from 7 to 22 miles per hour.^*^ A more precise deter- 
mination has been made from motion pictures taken on the scene 
by an amateur photographer, Abraham Zapruder. Based on these 
films, the speed of the President's automobile is computed at an 
average speed of 11.2 miles per hour. The car maintained this average 
speed over a distance of approximately 136 feet immediately preceding 
the shot which struck the President in the head. While the car 
traveled this distance, the Zapruder camera ran 152 frames. Since 
the camera operates at a speed of 18.3 frames per second, it was 
calculated that the car required 8.3 seconds to cover the 136 feet. 
This represents a speed of 11.2 miles per hour.^*^ 

In the Presidential Limousine 

Mrs. John F. Kennedy, on the left of the rear seat of the limousine, 
looked toward her left and waved to the crowds along the route. 
Soon after the motorcade turned onto Elm Street, she heard a sound 
similar to a motorcycle noise and a cry from Governor Connally, 
which caused her to look to her right. On turning she saw a quizzical 
look on her husband's face as he raised his left hand to his throat. 
Mrs. Kennedy then heard a second shot and saw the President's skull 
torn open under the impact of the bullet. As she cradled her mortally 
wounded husband, Mrs. Kennedy cried, "Oh, my God, they have shot 
my husband. I love you. Jack." 

Governor Connally testified that he recognized the first noise as a 
rifle shot and the thought immediately crossed his mind that it was 
an assassination attempt. From his position in the right jump seat 
immediately in front of the President, he instinctively turned to his 
right because the shot appeared to come from over his right shoulder. 
Unable to see the President as he turned to the right, the Governor 
started to look back over his left shoulder, but he never completed 
the turn because he felt something strike him in the back.^^^ In his 
testimony before the Commission, Governor Connally was certain 
that he was hit by the second shot, which he stated he did not hear.^^" 


Mrs. Connally, too, heard a frightening noise from her right. Look- 
ing over her right shoulder, she saw that the President had both 
hands at his neck but she observed no blood and heard nothing. She 
watched as he slumped down with an empty expression on his face.^^^ 
Roy Kellerman, in the right front seat of the limousine, heard a 
report like a firecracker pop. Turning to his right in the direction of 
the noise, Kellerman heard the President say "My God, I am hit," and 
saw both of the President's hands move up toward his neck. As he 
told the driver, "Let's get out of here ; we are hit," Kellerman grabbed 
his microphone and radioed ahead to the lead car, "We are hit. Get 
us to the hospital immediately." 

The driver, William Greer, heard a noise which he took to be a 
backfire from one of the motorcycles flanking the Presidential car. 
When he heard the same noise again, Greer glanced over his shoulder 
and saw Governor Comially fall. At the sound of the second shot 
he realized that something was wrong, and he pressed down on the ac- 
celerator as Kellerman said, "Get out of here fast." As he issued his 
instructions to Greer and to the lead car, Kellerman heard a "flurry 
of shots" within 5 seconds of the first noise. According to Kellerman, 
Mrs. Kennedy then cried out: "'\^niat are they doing to you?" Look- 
ing back from the front seat, Kellerman saw Governor Connally in 
his wife's lap and Special Agent Clinton J. Hill lying across the 
trunk of the car.^^* 

Mrs. Connally heard a second shot fired and pulled her husband 
down into her lap.^^^ Observing his blood-covered chest as he was 
pulled into his wife's lap, Governor Connally believed himself mortally 
wounded. He cried out, "Oh, no, no, no. My God, they are going to 
kill us all." At first Mrs. Connally thought that her husband had 
been killed, but then she noticed an almost imperceptible movement 
and knew that he was still alive. She said, "It's all right. Be still." 
The Governor was lying with his head on his wife's lap when he heard 
a shot hit the President.^ At that point, both Governor and !Mrs. 
Connally observed brain tissue splattered over the interior of the 
car.^^^ According to Governor and Mrs. Connally, it was after this 
shot that Kellerman issued his emergency instructions and the car 

Reaction by Secret Service Agents 

From the left front running board of the President's followup car. 
Special Agent Hill was scanning the few people standing on the south 
side of Elm Street after the motorcade had turned off Houston Street. 
He estimated that the motorcade had slowed down to approximately 
9 or 10 miles per hour on the turn at the intersection of Houston and 
Elm Streets and then proceeded at a rate of 12 to 15 miles per hour 
with the followup car trailing the President's automobile by approxi- 
mately 5 feet.^®^ Hill heard a noise, which seemed to be a firecracker, 
coming from his right rear. He immediately looked to his right, "and, 
in so doing, my eyes had to cross the Presidential limousine and I saw 
President Kennedy grab at himself and lurch forward and to the 


left." Hill jumped from the followup car and ran to the Presi- 
dent's automobile. At about the time he reached the President's auto- 
mobile, Hill heard a second shot, approximately 5 seconds after the 
first, which removed a portion of the President's head.^^^ 

At the instant that Hill stepped onto the left rear step of the Presi- 
dent's automobile and grasped the handhold, the car lurched forward, 
causing him to lose his footing. He ran three or four steps, regained 
his position and mounted the car. Between the time he originally 
seized the handhold and the time he mounted the car, Hill recalled 
that — 

Mrs. Kennedy had jumped up from the seat and was, it appeared 
to me, reaching for something coming off the right rear bumper 
of the car, the right rear tail, when she noticed that I was trying 
to climb on the car. She turned toward me and I grabbed her 
and put her back in the back seat, crawled up on top of the back 
seat and lay there.^^* 

David Powers, who witnessed the scene from the President's followup 
car, stated that Mrs. Kennedy would probably have fallen off the rear 
end of the car and been killed if Hill had not pushed her back into 
the Presidential automobile.^^^'^ Mrs. Kennedy had no recollection of 
climbing onto the back of the car.^^^ 

Special Agent Ready, on the right front running board of the Presi- 
dential followup car, heard noises that sounded like firecrackers and 
ran toward the President's limousine. But he was immediately called 
back by Special Agent Emory P. Roberts, in charge of the followup 
car, who did not believe that he could reach the President's car at the 
speed it was then traveling.^^^ Special Agent George W. Hickey, Jr., 
in the rear seat of the Presidential followup car, picked up and cocked 
an automatic rifle as he heard the last shot. At this point the cars 
were speeding through the underpass and had left the scene of the 
shooting, but Hickey kept the automatic weapon ready as the car 
raced to the hospital.^^^ Most of the other Secret Service agents in 
the motorcade had drawn their siclearms.^^^ Roberts noticed that the 
Vice President's car was approximately one-half block behind the 
Presidential followup car at the time of the shooting and signaled for 
it to move in closer.^^° 

Directing the security detail for the Vice President from the right 
front seat of the Vice-Presidential car. Special Agent Youngblood 
recalled : 

As we were beginning to go down this incline, all of a sudden there 
was an explosive noise. I quickly observed unnatural movement 
of crowds, like ducking or scattering, and quick movements in 
the Presidential followup car. So I turned around and hit the 
Vice President on the slioulder and hollered, get down, and then 
looked around again and saw more of this movement, and so I 
proceeded to go to the back seat and get on top of him. 


Youngblood was not positive that he was in the rear seat before the 
second shot, but thought it probable because of President Johnson's 
statement to that effect immediately after the assassination.^^^ Presi- 
dent Johnson emphasized Youngblood's instantaneous reaction after 
the first shot : 

I was startled by the sharp report or explosion, but I had no 
time to speculate as to its origin because Agent Youngblood 
turned in a flash, immediately after the first explosion, hitting 
me on the shoulder, and shouted to all of us in the back seat to 
get down. I was pushed down by Agent Youngblood. Almost 
in the same moment in which he hit or pushed me, he vaulted over 
the back seat and sat on me. I was bent over under the weight 
of Agent Youngblood's body, toward Mrs. Jolinson and Senator 

Clifton C. Carter, riding in the Vice President's followup car a short 
distance behind, reported that Youngblood was in the rear seat using 
his body to shield the Vice President before the second and third 
shots were fired.^^* 

Other Secret Service agents assigned to the motorcade remained at 
their posts during the race to the hospital. None stayed at the scene 
of the shooting, and none entered the Texas School Book Depository 
Building at or immediately after the shooting. Secret Service pro- 
cedure requires that each agent stay with the person being protected 
and not be diverted unless it is necessary to accomplish the protective 
assignment.^^^ Forrest V. Sorrels, special agent in charge of the 
Dallas office, was the first Secret Service agent to return to the scene 
of the assassination, approximately 20 or 25 minutes after the shots 
were fired.^^® 


The Race to the Hospital 

In the final instant of the assassination, the Presidential motorcade 
began a race to Parkland Memorial Hospital, approximately 4 miles 
from the Texas School Book Depository Building.^^^ On receipt of the 
radio message from Kellerman to the lead car that the President had 
been hit. Chief of Police Curry and police motorcyclists at the head of 
the motorcade led the way to the hospital.^^^ Meanwhile, Chief Curry 
ordered the police base station to notify Parkland Hospital that the 
wounded President was en route.^^^ The radio log of the Dallas Police 
Department shows that at 12:30 p.m. on November 22 Chief Curry 
radioed, "Go to the hospital — Parkland Hospital. Have them stand 
by." A moment later Curry added, "Looks like the President has been 
hit. Have Parkland stand by." The base station replied, "They have 
been notified." Traveling at speeds estimated at times to be up to 70 
or 80 miles per hour down the Stemmons Freeway and Harry Hines 


Boulevard, the Presidential limousine arrived at the emergency en- 
trance of the Parkland Hospital at about 12 :35 p.m.^^^ Arriving al- 
most simultaneously were the President's followup car, the Vice Presi- 
dent's automobile, and the Vice President's followup car. Admiral 
Burkley, the President's physician, arrived at the hospital "between 
3 and 5 minutes following the arrival of the President,'' since the riders 
in his car "were not exactly aware what had happened" and the car 
went on to the Trade Mart first. 

AVhen Parkland Hospital received the notification, the staff in the 
emergency area was alerted and trauma rooms 1 and 2 were pre- 
pared. These rooms were for the emergency treatment of acutely 
ill or injured patients.^^^ Although the first message mentioned an 
injury only to President Kennedy, two rooms were prepared.^^^ As 
the President's limousine sped toward the hospital, 12 doctors rushed 
to the emergency area : surgeons, Drs. Malcolm O. Perry, Charles 
E. Baxter, Robert N. McClelland, Ronald C. Jones; the chief neurolo- 
gist. Dr. William Kemp Clark; 4 anesthesiologists, Drs. Marion T. 
Jenkins, Adolph H. Giesecke, Jr., Jackie H. Hunt, Gene C. Akin; a 
urological surgeon, Dr Paul C. Peters; an oral surgeon, Dr. Don T. 
Curtis; and a heart specialist, Dr. Fouad A. Bashour.^^^ 

Upon arriving at Parkland Hospital, Lawson jumped from the lead 
car and rushed into the emergency entrance, where he was met by hos- 
pital staff members wheeling stretchers out to the automobile.^^^ 
Special Agent Hill removed his suit jacket and covered the President's 
head and upper chest to prevent the taking of photographs.^^^ Gov- 
ernor Connally, who had lost consciousness on the ride to the hos- 
pital, regained consciousness when the limousine stopped abruptly at 
the emergency entrance. Despite his serious wounds. Governor Con- 
nally tried to get out of the way so that medical help could reach 
the President. Although he was reclining in his wife's arms, he 
lurched forward in an effort to stand upright and get out of the car, 
but he collapsed again. Then he experienced his first sensation of 
pain, which became excruciating.^^® The Governor was lifted onto 
a stretcher and taken into trauma room 2.^®° For a moment, Mrs. 
Kennedy refused to release the President, whom she held in her lap, 
but then Kellerman, Greer, and Lawson lifted the President onto 
a stretcher and pushed it into trauma room 1.^^^ 

Treatment of President Kennedy 

The first physician to see the President at Parkland Hospital was 
Dr. Charles J. Carrico, a resident in general surgery.^®^ Dr. Carrico 
was in the emergency area, examining another patient, when he was 
notified that President Kennedy was en route to the hospital.^®^ 
Approximately 2 minutes later. Dr. Carrico saw the President on his 
back, being wheeled into the emergency area.^®* He noted that the 
President was blue-white or ashen in color; had slow, spasmodic, 
agonal respiration without any coordination ; made no voluntary move- 
ments ; had his eyes open with the pupils dilated without any reaction 


to light; evidenced no palpable pulse; and had a few chest sounds 
which were thought to be heart beats."^ On the basis of these find- 
ings, Dr. Carrico concluded that President Kennedy was still alive. 

Dr. Carrico noted two wounds : a small bullet wound in the front 
lower neck, and an extensive wound in the President's head where a 
sizable portion of the skull was missing.^^^ He observed shredded 
brain tissue and "considerable slow oozing" from the latter wound, 
followed by "more profuse bleeding" after some circulation was estab- 
lished.^^® Dr. Carrico felt the President's back and determined that 
there was no large wound there which would be an immediate threat 
to life.^^9 Observing the serious problems presented by the head 
wound and inadequate respiration. Dr. Carrico directed his attention 
to improving the President's breathing.^oo He noted contusions, he- 
matoma to the right of the larynx, which was deviated slightly to the 
left, and also ragged tissue which indicated a tracheal injury.^^i Dr. 
Carrico inserted a cuffed endotracheal tube past the injury, inflated 
the cuff, and connected it to a Bennett machine to assist in 

At that point, direction of the President's treatment was undertaken 
by Dr. Malcolm O. Perry, who arrived at trauma room 1 a few 
moments after the President.^^s Dr. Perry noted the President's back 
brace as he felt for a femoral pulse, which he did not find.^^* Observ- 
ing that an effective airway had to be established if treatment was 
to be effective, Dr. Perry performed a tracheotomy, which required 
3 to 5 minutes.2°^ While Dr. Perry was performing the tracheotomy, 
Drs. Carrico and Eonald Jones made cutdowns on the President's right 
leg and left arm, respectively, to infuse blood and fluids into the cir- 
culatory system.2^® Dr. Carrico treated the President's known ad- 
renal insufficiency by administering hydrocortisone.^^^ Dr. Eobert N. 
McClelland entered at that point and assisted Dr. Perry with the 

Dr. Fouad Bashour, chief of cardiology. Dr. M. T. Jenkins, chief 
of anesthesiology, and Dr. A. H. Giesecke, Jr., then joined in the 
effort to revive the President.^^^ When Dr. Perry noted free air and 
blood in the President's chest cavity, he asked that chest tubes be 
inserted to allow for drainage of blood and air. Drs. Paul C. Peters 
and Charles K. Baxter initiated these procedures.^^^ As a result of 
the infusion of liquids through the cutdowns, the cardiac massage, 
and the airway, the doctors were able to maintain peripheral circu- 
lation as monitored at the neck (carotid) artery and at the wrist 
(radial) pulse. A femoral pulse was also detected in the President's 
leg.2^^ While these medical efforts were in progress, Dr. Clark noted 
some electrical activity on the cardiotachyscope attached to monitor 
the President's heart responses.^^^ Dr. Clark, who most closely ob- 
served the head wound, described a large, gaping wound in the right 
rear part of the head, with substantial damage and exposure of brain 
tissue, and a considerable loss of blood.^^^ Dr. Clark did not see any 
other hole or wound on the President's head. According to Dr. Clark, 


the small bullet hole on the right rear, of the President's head dis- 
covered during the subsequent autopsy "could have easily been hidden 
in the blood and hair." 

In the absence of any neurological, muscular, or heart response, 
the doctors concluded that efforts to revive the President were hope- 
less.^^^ This was verified by Admiral Burkley, the President's physi- 
cian, who arrived at the hospital after emergency treatment was under- 
way and concluded that "my direct services to him at that moment 
would have interfered with the action of the team which was in prog- 
ress." At approximately 1 p.m., after last rites were administered 
to the President by Father Oscar L. Huber, Dr. Clark pronounced the 
President dead. He made the official' determination because the ulti- 
mate cause of death, the severe head injury, was within his sphere 
of specialization.^^'^ The time was fixed at 1 p.m., as an approximation, 
since it was impossible to determine the precise moment when life 
left the President.^^^ President Kennedy could have survived the 
neck injury, but the head wound was fatal.^^^ From a medical view- 
point. President Kennedy was alive when he arrived at Parkland 
Hospital ; the doctors observed that he had a heart beat and was mak- 
ing some respiratory efforts.^^^ But his condition was hopeless, and 
the extraordinary efforts of the doctors to save him could not help 
but to have been unavailing. 

Since the Dallas doctors directed all their efforts to controlling the 
massive bleeding caused by the head wound, and to reconstructing 
an airway to his lungs, the President remained on his back throughout 
his medical treatment at Parkland.^^ When asked why he did not 
turn the President over. Dr. Carrico testified as follows : 

A. This man was in obvious extreme distress and any more 
thorough inspection would have involved several minutes — well, 
several — considerable time which at this juncture was not avail- 
able. A thorough inspection would have involved washing and 
cleansing the back, and this is not practical in treating an acutely 
injured patient. You have to determine which things, which are 
immediately life threatening and cope with them, before attempt- 
ing to evaluate the full extent of the injuries. 

Q. Did you ever have occasion to look at the President's back ? 

A. No, sir. Before — well, in trying to treat an acutely injured 
patient, you have to establish an airway, adequate ventilation 
and you have to establish adequate circulation. Before this was 
accomplished the President's cardiac activity had ceased and 
closed cardiac massage was instituted, which made it impossible 
to inspect his back. 

Q. Was any effort made to inspect the President's back after 
he had expired ? 

A. No, sir. 

Q. And why was no effort made at that time to inspect his back ? 
A. I suppose nobody really had the heart to do it.^^ 


Moreover, the Parkland doctors took no further action after the Presi- 
dent had expired because they concluded that it was beyond the scope 
of their permissible duties.^^^ 

Treatment of Governor Connally 

While one medical team tried to revive President Kemiedy, a second 
performed a series of operations on the bullet wounds sustained by 
Governor Connally .^^^ Governor Connally was originally seen by Dr. 
Carrico and Dr. Richard Dulany.^^^ While Dr. Carrico went on to 
attend the President, Dr. Dulany stayed with the Governor and was 
soon joined by several other doctors.^^" At approximately 12 : 45 p.m.. 
Dr. Robert Shaw, chief of thoracic surgery, arrived at trauma room 2, 
to take charge of the care of Governor Connally, whose major wound 
fell within Dr. Shawn's area of specialization. 

Governor Connally had a large sucking wound in the front of the 
right chest w^hich caused extreme pain and difficulty in breathing. 
Rubber tubes were inserted between the second and third ribs to 
reexpand the right lung, which had collapsed because of the opening 
in the chest wall.^^s At 1 : 35 p.m., after Governor Connally had been 
moved to the operating room. Dr. Shaw started the first operation 
by cutting away the edges of the wound on the front of the Gov- 
ernor's chest and suturing the damaged lung and lacerated muscles."® 
The elliptical wound in the Governor's back, located slightly to the 
left of the Governor's right armpit approximately five-eighths inch 
(a centimeter and a half) in its greatest diameter, was treated by cut- 
ting away the damaged skin and suturing the back muscle and skin.^^" 
This operation was concluded at 3 : 20 p.m.^^^ 

Two additional operations were performed on Governor Connally 
for wounds wliich he had not realized he had sustained until he re- 
gained consciousness the following day.^^^ From approximately 4 p.m. 
to 4 :50 p.m. on November 22, Dr. Charles F. Gregory, chief of ortho- 
pedic surgery, operated on the wounds of Governor Connally's right 
wrist, assisted by Drs. William Osborne and John Parker.^^ The 
wound on the back of the wrist was left partially open for draining, 
and the wound on the palm side was enlarged, cleansed, and closed. 
The fracture was set, and a cast was applied with some traction uti- 
lized.^^* Wliile the second operation was in progress. Dr. George T. 
Shires, assisted by Drs. Robert McClelland, Charles Baxter, and Ralph 
Don Patman, treated the gunshot wound in the left thigh.^^ This 
punctuate missile wound, about two-fifths inch in diameter (1 centi- 
meter) and located approximately 5 inches above the left knee, was 
cleansed and closed with sutures; but a small metallic fragment re- 
mained in the Governor's leg.^^^ 

Vice President Johnson at Parkland 

As President Kennedy and Governor Connally were being removed 
from the limousine onto stretchers, a protective circle of Secret Serv- 
ice agents surrounded Vice President and Mrs. Johnson and escorted 


them into Parkland Hospital through the emergency entrance.^^^ The 
agents moved a nurse and patient out of a nearby room, lowered the 
shades, and took emergency security measures to protect the Vice 
President.^^^ Two men from the President's followup car w^ere de- 
tailed to help protect the Vice President. An agent was stationed 
at the entrance to stop anyone who was not a member of the Presi- 
dential party. U.S. Eepresentatives Henry B. Gonzalez, J ack Brooks, 
Homer Thornberry, and Albert Thomas joined Clifton C. Carter and 
the group of special agents protecting the Vice President.^"^ On one 
occasion Mrs. Johnson, accompanied by two Secret Service agents, 
left the room to see Mrs. Kennedy and Mrs. Connally.^*^ 

Concern that the Vice President might also be a target for assassi- 
nation prompted the Secret Service agents to urge him to leave the 
hospital and return to Washington immediately .^^^ The Vice Presi- 
dent decided to wait until he received definitive word of the President's 
condition.2*^ At approximately 1:20 p.m.. Vice President Johnson 
was notified by O'Donnell that President Kennedy was dead.-*^ Spe- 
cial Agent Youngblood learned from Mrs. Jolinson the location of her 
two daughters and made arrangements through Secret Service 
headquarters in Washington to provide them with protection 

When consulted by the Vice President, O'Donnell advised him to go 
to the airfield immediately and return to Washington.^*^ It was de- 
cided that the Vice President should return on the Presidential plane 
rather than on the Vice-Presidential plane because it had better com- 
munication equipment.2*^ The Vice President conferred with "White 
House Assistant Press Secretary Malcolm Kilduff and decided that 
there would be no release of the news of the President's death until the 
Vice President had left the hospital.^*^ When told that Mrs. Ken- 
nedy refused to leave without the President's body, the Vice President 
said that he would not leave Dallas without her.^*^ On the recommen- 
dation of the Secret Service agents. Vice President Johnson decided to 
board the Presidential airplane. Air Force One, and wait for Mrs. 
Kennedy and the President's body.^*® 

Secret Service Emergency Security Arrangements 

Immediately after President Kennedy's stretcher was wheeled into 
trauma room 1, Secret Service agents took positions at the door of the 
small emergency room. A nurse was asked to identify hospital per- 
sonnel and to tell everyone, except necessary medical staff members, to 
leave the emergency room. Other Secret Service agents posted them- 
selves in the corridors and other areas near the emergency room. Spe- 
cial Agent Lawson made certain that the Dallas police kept the public 
and press away from the immediate area of the hospital.^ Agents 
Kellerman and Hill telephoned the head of the White House detail, 
Gerald A. Behn, to advise him of the assassination. The telephone 
line to Washington was kept open throughout the remainder of the 
stay at the hospital.^^^ 


730-900 0-64— 6 

Secret Service agents stationed at later stops on the President's 
itinerary of Xovember 22 were redeployed. Men at the Trade Mart 
were driven to Parkland Hospital in Dallas police cars.^^^ The Secret 
Service group awaiting the President in Austin were instructed to re- 
turn to Washington.2^ Meanwhile, the Secret Service agents in 
charge of security at Love Field started to make arrangements for 
departure. As soon as one of the agents learned of the shooting, he 
asked the officer in charge of the police detail at the airport to institute 
strict security measures for the Presidential aircraft, the airport ter- 
minal, and the surrounding area. The police were cautioned to pre- 
vent picture takmg. Secret Service agents working with police 
cleared the areas adjacent to the aircraft, including warehouses, 
other terminal buildings and the neighboring parking lots, of all 
people.^^* The agents decided not to shift the Presidential aircraft to 
the far side of the airport because the original landing area was secure 
and a move would require new measures.^°^ 

When security arrangements at the airport were complete, the 
Secret Service made the necessary arrangements for the Vice President 
to leave the hospital. Unmarked police cars took the Vice President 
and Mrs. Jolinson from Parkland Hospital to Love Field. Qiief 
Curiy drove one automobile occupied by Vice President Jolmson, U.S. 
Represent atives Tliomas and Thomberry, and Special Agent Young- 
blood. In another car Mi^. Jolmson was driven to the airport ac- 
companied by Secret Seiwice agents and Representative Brooks. 
Motorcycle policemen who escorted the automobiles were requested by 
the Vice President and Agent Yomigblood not to use sirens. During 
the drive Vice President Johnson, at Youngblood's instruction, kept 
below window level.^® 

Removal of the President's Body 

Wliile the team of doctoi-s at Parkland Hospital tried desperately to 
save the life of President Kemiedy. Mrs. Kennedy alternated between 
watching them and waiting outside.-^" After the President was pro- 
nounced dead, O'Donnell tried to pei^uade ]Mrs. Kennedy to leave the 
area, but she refused. She said that she intended to stay with her 
husband.^^^ A casket was obtained and the President's body was pre- 
pared for removal.259 Before the body could be taken from the hos- 
pital, two Dallas officials infomied members of the President's staff 
that the body could not be removed fi^om the city until an autopsy was 
performed. Despite the protests of these officials, the casket was 
wheeled out of the hospital, placed in an ambulance, and transported to 
the airport shortly after 2 p.m.-^'^ At approximately 2 :15 p.m. the 
casket was loaded, with some difficulty because of the narrow airplane 
door, onto the rear of the Presidential plane where seats had been 
removed to make room.^^^ Concerned that the local officials might 
try to prevent the plane's departure. O'Donnell asked that the pilot 
take off immediately. He was informed that takeoff would be de- 
layed until Vice President Jolmson was sworn in.^^- 



Swearing in of the New President 

From the Presidential airplane, the Vice President telephoned At- 
torney General Robert F. Kennedy, who advised that Mr. Jolinson 
take the Presidential oath of office before the plane left Dallas.^^^ 
Federal Judge Sarah T. Hughes hastened to the plane to administer 
the oath.26* Members of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential 
parties filled the central compartment of the plane to witness the 
swearing in. At 2:38 p.m., c.s.t., Lyndon Baines Johnson took the 
oath of office as the 36th President of the United States.^^^ Mrs. 
Kennedy and Mrs. Johnson stood at the side of the new President as 
he took the oath of office.^^^ Nine minutes later, the Presidential air- 
plane departed for Washington, D.C.^^^ 

Return to Washington, D.C. 

On the return flight, Mrs. Kennedy sat with David Powers, Ken- 
neth O'Donnell, and Lawrence O'Brien.^^^ j^^ 5 .5g -p ja.^ e.s.t.. Air 
Force One landed at Andrews AFB, where President Kemiedy had be- 
gun his last trip only 31 hours before.^^^ Detailed security arrange- 
ments had been made by radio from the President's plane on the 
return flight.^^^ The public had been excluded from the base, and 
only Government officials and the press were permitted near the land- 
ing area. Upon arrival, President Johnson made a brief statement 
over television and radio. President and Mrs. Johnson were flown 
by helicopter to the White House, from where Mrs. Johnson was 
driven to her residence under Secret Service escort. The President 
then walked to the Executive Office Building, where he worked until 
9 p.m."i 

The Autopsy 

Given a choice between the National Naval Medical Center at 
Bethesda, Md., and the Army's Walter Reed Hospital, Mrs. Kennedy 
chose the hospital in Bethesda for the autopsy because the Presi- 
dent had served in the Na^^y.^^^ Mrs. Kennedy and the Attorney Gen- 
eral, with three Secret Service agents, accompanied President Ken- 
nedy's body on the 45 -minute automobile trip from Andrews AFB 
to the Hospital.2^^ On the iTth floor of the Hospital, Mrs. Kennedy 
and the Attorney General joined other members of the Kennedy family 
to await the conclusion of the autopsy.^^* Mrs. Kennedy was guarded 
by Secret Service agents in quarters assigned to her in the naval hos- 
pital.2^^ The Secret Service established a communication system with 
the White House and screened all telephone calls and visitors.^*^^ 

The hospital received the President's body for autopsy at approx- 
imately 7:35 p.m. X-rays and photographs were taken prelimi- 
narily and the pathological examination began at about 8 p.m.^^^ 
The autopsy report noted that President Kennedy was 46 years of 


age, 7214 inches tall, weighed 170 pounds, had blue eyes and 
reddish-brown hair. The body was muscular and well developed 
with no gross skeletal abnormalities except for those caused by the 
gunshot wounds. Under "Pathological Diagnosis" the cause of 
death was set forth as "Gunshot wound, head." ( See app. IX. ) 

The autopsy examination revealed two wounds in the President's 
head. One wound, approximately one-fourth of an inch by five- 
eighths of an inch (6 by 15 millimeters), was located about an inch 
(2.5 centimeters) to the right and slightly above the large bony pro- 
trusion (external occipital protuberance) which juts out at the center 
of the lower part of the back of the skull. The second head wound 
measured approximately 5 inches (13 centimeters) in its greatest di- 
ameter, but it was difficult to measure accurately because multiple 
crisscross fractures radiated from the large def ect.^^° During the au- 
topsy examination. Federal agents brought the surgeons three pieces 
of bone recovered from Elm Street and the Presidential automobile. 
When put together, these fragments accounted for approximately 
three-quarters of the missing portion of the skull. The surgeons 
observed, through X-ray analysis, 30 or 40 tiny dustlike fragments of 
metal running in a line from the wound in the rear of the President's 
head toward the front part of the skull, with a sizable metal fragment 
lying just above the right eye.^^^ From this head wound two small 
irregularly shaped fragments of metal were recovered and turned over 
to the FBI.2«3 

The autopsy also disclosed a wound near the base of the back of 
President Kennedy's neck slightly to the right of his spine. The 
doctors traced the course of the bullet through the body and, as infor- 
mation was received from Parkland Hospital, concluded that the 
bullet had emerged from the front portion of the President's neck that 
had been cut away by the tracheotomy at Parkland. The nature 
and characteristics of this neck wound and the two head wounds are 
discussed fully in the next chapter. 

After the autopsy was concluded at approximately 11 p.m., the 
President's body was prepared for burial. This was finished at ap- 
proximately 4 a.m.^^^ Shortly thereafter, the President's wife, family 
and aides left Bethesda Naval Hospital.^^® The President's body was 
taken to the East Room of the White House where it was placed under 
ceremonial military guard. 



The Shots From the Texas School 

IN THIS chapter the Commission analyzes the evidence and sets 
forth its conclusions concerning the source, effect, number and 
timing of the shots that killed President Kennedy and wounded 
Governor Connally. In that connection the Commission has evalu- 
ated (1) the testimony of eyewitnesses present at the scene of the 
assassination; (2) the damage to the Presidential limousine; (3) the 
examination by qualified experts of the rifle and cartridge cases found 
on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository and the bullet 
fragments found in the Presidential limousine and at Parkland Hos- 
pital; (4) the wounds suffered by President Kennedy and Governor 
Connally; (5) wound ballistics tests; (6) the examination by qualified 
experts of the clothing worn by President Kennedy and Governor 
Connally; and (7) motion-picture films and still photographs taken 
at the time of the assassination. 

As reflected in the previous chapter, passengers in the first few cars 
of the motorcade had the impression that the shots came from the rear 
and from the right, the general direction of the Texas School Book 
Depository Building, although none of these passengers saw anyone 
fire the shots. Some spectators at Houston and Elm Streets, how- 
ever, did see a rifle being fired in the direction of the President's car 
from the easternmost window of the sixth floor on the south side of the 
building. Other witnesses saw a rifle in this window immediately 
after the assassination. Three employees of the Depository, observing 
the parade from the fifth floor, heard the shots fired from the floor 
immediately above them. No credible evidence suggests that the 
shots were fired from the railroad bridge over the Triple Underpass, 
the nearby railroad yards or any place other than the Texas School 
Book Depository Building. 

Book Dep 



Commission Exhibit No. 477 
Position of Howard L. Brennan on November 22, 1963. (Photograph taken on 
March 20, 1964, and marked by Brennan during has testimony to show the 
window (A) in which he saw a man with a rifle, and the window (B) on the fifth 
floor in which he saw people watching the motorcade.) 


Near the Depository 

Eyewitnesses testified that they saw a man fire a weapon from the 
sixth-floor window. Howard L. Brennan, a 45 -year-old steamfitter, 
watched the motorcade from a concrete retaining wall at the southwest 
comer of Elm and Houston, where he had a clear view of the south 
side of the Depository Building.^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 477, 
p. 62.) He was approximately 107 feet from the Depository entrance 
and 120 feet from the southeast corner window of the sixth fioor.^ 
Brennan's presence and vantage point are corroborated by a motion 
picture of the motorcade taken by amateur photographer Abraham 
Zapruder, which shows Brennan, wearing gray khaki work clothes and 
a gray work helmet, seated on the retaining wall.^ Brennan later 
identified himself in the Zapruder movie.* While waiting about 7 
minutes for the President to arrive, he observed the crowd on the 
street and the people at the windows of the Depository Building.^ 
He noticed a man at the southeast corner window of the sixth floor, 
and observed him leave the window "a couple of times." ® 

Brennan watched the President's car as it turned the comer at 
Houston and Elm and moved down the incline toward the Triple 
Underpass. Soon after the President's car passed, he heard an 
explosion like the backfire of a motorcycle.^ Brennan recalled : 

Well, then something, just right after this explosion, made me 
think that it was a firecracker being thrown from the Texas Book 
Store. And I glanced up. And this man that I saw previous 
was aiming for his last shot. 

S|S ^ ^ ^ Sfc 3|S ^ 

Well, as it appeared to me he was standing up and resting 
against the left window sill, with gun shouldered to his right 
shoulder, holding the gun with his left hand and taking positive 
aim and fired his last shot. As I calculate a couple of seconds. 
He drew the gun back from the window as though he was drawing 
it back to his side and maybe paused for another second as though 
to assure hisself that he hit his mark, and then he disappeared.^ 

Brennan stated that he saw 70 to 85 percent of the gun when it was 
fired and the body of the man from the waist up.® The rifle was aimed 
southwesterly down Elm Street toward the underpass.^° Brennan 
saw the man fire one shot and he remembered hearing a total of only 
two shots. When questioned about the number of shots, Brennan 
testified : 

I don't know what made me think that there was firecrackers 
throwed out of the Book Store unless I did hear the second shot, 
because I positively thought the first shot was a backfire, and 
subconsciously I must have heard a second shot, .but I do not 
recall it. I could not swear to it.^^ 


Brennan quickly reported his observations to police officers.^^ Bren- 
nan's description of the man he saw is discussed in the next chapter. 

Amos Lee Euins, a 15-year-old ninth grade student, stated that he 
was facing the Depository as the motorcade turned the corner at Elm 
and Houston. He recalled : 

Then I was standing here, and as the motorcade turned the 
corner, I was facing, looking dead at the building. And so I 
seen this pipe thing sticking out the window. I wasn't paying 
too much attention to it. Then when the first shot was fired, I 
started looking around, thinking it was a backfire. Everybody 
else started looking around. Then I looked up at the window, 
and he shot again.^^ 

After witnessing the first shots, Euins hid behind a fountain 
bench and saw the man shoot again from the window in the southeast 
corner of the Depository's sixth floor.^^ According to Euins, the man 
had one hand on the barrel and the other on the trigger. Euins be- 
lieved that there were four shots.^° Immediately after the assassina- 
tion, he reported his observations to Sgt. D. V. Harkness of the 
Dallas Police Department and also to James Underwood of station 
KRLD-TV of Dallas.^« Sergeant Harkness testified that Euins told 
him that the shots came from the last window of the floor "under the 
ledge" on the side of the building they were f acing.^^ Based on Euins' 
statements, Harkness radioed to headquarters at 12 :36 p.m. that 
"I have a witness that says that it came from the fifth floor of the 
Texas Book Depository Store." Euins accurately described the 
sixth floor as the floor "under the ledge." Harkness testified that the 
error in the radio message was due to his own "hasty count of the 
floors." ^® 

Other witnesses saw a rifle in the window after the shots were fired. 
Robert H. Jackson, staff photographer, Dallas Times Herald, was 
in a press car in the Presidential motorcade, eight or nine cars from 
the front. On Houston Street about halfway between Main and Elm, 
J ackson heard the first shot.^° As someone in the car commented that 
it sounded like a firecracker, Jackson heard two more shots.^^ He 
testified : 

Then we realized or we thought that it was gunfire, and then 
we could not at that point see the President's car. We were 
still moving slowly, and after the third shot the second two shots 
seemed much closer together than the first shot, than they were 
to the first shot. Then after the last shot, I guess all of us were 
just looking all around and I just looked straight up ahead of 
me which would have been looking at the School Book Depository 
and I noticed two Negro men in a window straining to see directly 
above them, and my eyes followed right on up to the window 
above them and I saw the rifle or what looked like a rifle approxi- 
mately half of the weapon, I guess I saw, and just as I looked 


at it, it was drawn fairly slowly back into the building, and I 
saw no one in the window with it. 

I didn't even see a form in the window.^^ 

In the car with Jackson were James Underwood, television station 
KRLD-TV; Thomas Dillard, chief photographer, Dallas Morning 
News; Malcolm O. Couch and James Darnell, television newsreel 
cameramen. Dillard, Underwood, and the driver were in the front 
seat. Couch and Darnell were sitting on top of the back seat of the 
convertible with Jackson. Dillard, Couch, and Underwood con- 
firmed that Jackson spontaneously exclaimed that he saw a rifle in 
the window.23 According to Dillard, at the time the shots were fired 
he and his fellow passengers "had an absolutely perfect view of the 
School Depository from our position in the open car." Dillard 
immediately took two pictures of the building : one of the east two- 
thirds of the south side and the other of the southeast corner, particu- 
larly the fifth- and sixth-floor windows.^^ These pictures show three 
Negro men in windows on the fifth floor and the partially open 
window on the sixth floor directly above them. (See Dillard Ex- 
hibits C and D, pp. 66-67.) Couch also saw the rifle in the window, 
and testified: 

And after the third shot. Bob J ackson, who was, as I recall, on 
my right, yelled something like, "Look up in the window! 
There's the rifle!" 

And I remember glancing up to a window on the far right, 
which at the time impressed me as the sixth or seventh floor, 
and seeing about a foot of a rifle being — ^the barrel brought into 
the window.^® 

Couch testified he saw people standing in other windows on the third 
or fourth floor in the middle of the south side, one of them being a 
Negro in a white T-shirit leaning out to look up at the windows above 

Mayor and Mrs. Earle Cabell rode in the motorcade immediately 
behind the Vice-Presidential foUowup car.^^ Mrs. Cabell was seated 
in the back seat behind the driver and was facing U.S. Representative 
Ray Roberts on her right as the car made the turn at Elm and Houston. 
In this position Mrs. Cabell "was actually facing" the seven-story 
Depository when the first shot rang out.^^ She "jerked" her head up 
immediately and saw a "projection" in the first group of windows on 
a floor which she described both as the sixth floor and the top floor.^** 
According to Mrs. Cabell, the object was "rather long looking," but she 
was unable to determine whether it was a mechanical object or a 
person's arm.^^ She turned away from the window to tell her hus- 
band that the noise was a shot, and "just as I got the words out * * * 
the second two shots rang out." Mrs. Cabell did not look at the 
sixth-floor window when the second and third shots were fired.^^ 


DiLLARD Exhibit C 
Enlargement of photograph taken by Thomas C. Dillard on November 22, 1963. 


Dn.T.ARD Exhibit D 
Photograph taken by Thomas C. Dillard on November 22, 1963. 


James N. Crawford and Mary Ann Mitchell, two deputy district 
clerks for Dallas County, watched the motorcade at the southeast 
corner of Elm and Houston. After the President's car turned the 
comer, Crawford heard a loud report which he thought was backfire 
coming from the direction of the Triple Underpass.^* He heard a 
second shot seconds later, followed quickly by a third. At the third 
shot, he looked up and saw a "movement" in the far east corner 
of the sixth floor of the Depository, the only open window on that 
floor .^^ He told Miss Mitchell "that if those were shots they came 
from that window." When asked to describe the movement more 
exactly, he said, 

* * * I would say that it was a profile, somewhat from the 
waist up, but it was a very quick movement and rather indistinct 
and it was very light colored. * * * 

SfC SfC ^ 9fC S)C S|C 9|C 

When I saw it, I automatically in my mind came to the conclusion 
that it was a person having moved out of the window. * * * se 

He could not state whether the person was a man or a woman." Miss 
Mitchell confirmed that after the third shot Crawford told her, "Those 
shots came from that building." She saw Crawford pointing at a 
window but was not sure at which window he was pointing.^^ 

On the Fifth Floor 

Three Depository employees shown in the picture taken by Dillard 
were on the fifth floor of the building when the shots were fired: 
James Jarman, Jr., age 34, a wrapper in the shipping department; 
Bonnie Ray Williams, age 20, a warehouseman temporarily assigned 
to laying a plywood floor on the sixth floor ; and Harold Norman, age 
26, an "order filler." Norman and Jarman decided to watch the 
parade during the lunch hour from the fifth-floor windows.*^ From 
the ground floor they took the west elevator, which operates with push- 
button controls, to the fifth floor.*^ Meanwhile, Williams had gone up 
to the sixth floor where he had been working and ate liis lunch on the 
south side of that floor. Since he saw no one around when he finished 
his lunch, he started down on the east elevator, looking for company. 
He left behind his paper lunch sack, chicken bones and an empty 
pop bottle.^2 'V^illiams went down to the fifth floor, where he joined 
Norman and Jarman at approximately 12 :20 p.m.*^ 

Harold Norman was in the fifth-floor window in the southeast 
corner, directly under the window where witnesses saw the rifle. 
(See Commission Exhibit No. 485, p. 69.) He could see light 
through the ceiling cracks between the fifth and sixth floors.** As 
the motorcade went by, Norman thought that the President was 
saluting with his right arm, 


Commission Exhibit No. 485 
Positions occupied by Depository employees on fifth floor on November 22, 1963. 


* * * and I can't remember what the exact time was but I know 
I heard a shot, and then after I heard the shot, well, it seems 
as though the President, you know, slumped or something, and 
then another shot and I believe Jarman or someone told me, he 
said, "I believe someone is shooting at the President," and I 
think I made a statement "It is someone shooting at the President, 
and I believe it came from up above us." 

Well, I couldn't see at all during the time but I know I heard 
a third shot fired, and I could also hear something sounded like 
theshellhuUshittingthefloor and the ejecting of the rifle * * *.*® 

Williams said that he "really did not pay any attention" to the first 
shot — 

* * * because I did not know what was happening. The second 
shot, it sounded like it was right in the building, the second and 
third shot. And it sounded — it even shook the building, the side 
we were on. Cement fell on my head. 

Q. You say cement fell on your head ? 

A. Cement, gravel, dirt, or something, from the old building, 
because it shook the windows and everything. Harold was sitting 
next to me, and he said it came right from over our head.*^ 

Williams testified Norman said "I can even hear the shell being ejected 
from the gun hitting the floor." 

When Jarman heard the first sound, he thought that it was either 
a backfire — 

* * * or an officer giving a salute to the President. And then 
at that time I didn't, you know, think too much about it. * * * 

Well, after the third shot was fired, I think I got up and I run 
over to Harold Norman and Bonnie Kay Williams, and told them, 
I said, I told them that it wasn't a backfire or anything, that 
somebody was shooting at the President.^ 

Jarman testified that Norman said "that he thought the shots had come 
from above us, and I noticed that Bonnie Ray had a few debris in his 
head. It was sort of white stuff, or something."*® Jarman stated 
that Norman said "that he was sure that the shot came from inside 
the building because he had been used to guns and all that, and he 
said it didn't sound like it was too far off anyway." ®° The three men 
ran to the west side of the building, where they could look toward the 
Triple Underpass to see what had happened to the motorcade.^^ 

After the men had gone to the window on the west side of the build- 
ing, Jarman "got to thinking about all the debris on Bonnie Ray's 
head" and said, "That shot probably did come from upstairs, up over 
us." ^2 He testified that Norman said, "I know it did, because I could 


hear the action of the bolt, and I could hear the cartridges drop on 
the floor." After pausing for a few minutes, the three men ran 
downstairs. Norman and Jarman ran out of the front entrance of the 
building, where they saw Brennan, the construction worker who had 
seen the man in the window firing the gun, talking to a police officer, 
and they then reported their own experience.^* 

On March 20, 1964, preceding their appearance before the Com- 
mission, these witnesses were interviewed in Dallas. At that time 
members of the Commission's legal staff conducted an experiment. 
Norman, Williams, and Jarman placed themselves at the windows of 
the fifth floor as they had been on November 22. A Secret Service 
agent operated the bolt of a rifle directly above them at the southeast 
corner window of the sixth floor. At the same time, three cartridge 
shells were dropped to the floor at intervals of about 3 seconds. Ac- 
cording to Norman, the noise outside was less on the day of the assassi- 
nation than on the day of the test.^^ He testified, "Well, I heard the 
same sound, the sound similar. I heard three something that he 
dropped on the floor and then I could hear the rifle or whatever he 
had up there." The experiment with the shells and rifle was re- 
peated for members of the Commission on May 9, 1964, on June 7, 1964, 
and again on September 6, 1964. All seven of the Commissioners 
clearly heard the shells drop to the floor. 

At the Triple Underpass 

In contrast to the testimony of the witnesses who heard and observed 
shots fired from the Depository, the Commission's investigation has 
disclosed no credible evidence that any shots were fired from anywhere 
else. When the shots were fired, many people near the Depository 
believed that the shots came from the railroad bridge over the Triple 
Underpass or from the area to the west of the Depository.^^ In the 
hectic moments after the assassination, many spectators ran in the 
general direction of the Triple Underpass or the railroad yards north- 
west of the building. Some were running toward the place from 
which the sound of the rifle fire appeared to come, others were fleeing 
the scene of the shooting. None of these people saw anyone with a 
rifle, and the Commission's inquiry has yielded no evidence that shots 
were fired from the bridge over the Triple Underpass or from the 
railroad yards. 

On the day of the motorcade. Patrolman J. W. Foster stood on the 
east side of the railroad bridge over the Triple Underpass and 
Patrolman J. C. White stood on the west side.^^ Patrolman Joe E. 
Murphy was standing over Elm Street on the Stemmons Freeway 
overpass, we^t of the railroad bridge farther away from the Deposi- 
tory.^° Two other officers were stationed on Stemmons Freeway 
to control traffic as the motorcade entered the Freeway.®^ Under the 
advance preparations worked out between the Secret Service and the 
Dallas Police Department, the policemen were mider instructions to 
keep "unauthorized" people away from these locations.^^ When the 


motorcade reached the intersection of Elm and Houston Streets, there 
were no spectators on Stemmons Freeway where Patrolman Murphy 
was stationed.^^ Patrolman Foster estimated that there were 10 or 
11 people on the railroad bridge where he was assigned ; ®* another 
witness testified that there were between 14 and 18 people there as 
the motorcade came into view.^^ Investigation has disclosed 15 per- 
sons who were on the railroad bridge at this time, including 2 police- 
men, 2 employees of the Texas-Louisiana Freight Bureau and 11 
employees of the Union Terminal Co.^^ In the absence of any explicit 
definition of "unauthorized" persons, the policemen permitted these 
employees to remain on the railroad bridge to watch the motorcade. 
(See chapter VIII, pp. 446^47.) At the request of the policemen, 
S. M. Holland, signal supervisor for Union Terminal Co., came to the 
railroad bridge at about 11 :45 a.m. and remained to identify those 
persons who were railroad employees.^^ In addition. Patrolman 
Foster checked credentials to determine if persons seeking access to 
the bridge were railroad employees. Persons who were not railroad 
employees were ordered away, including one news photographer who 
wished only to take a picture of the motorcade.^^ 

Another employee of the Union Terminal Co., Lee E. Bowers, Jr., 
was at work in a railroad tower about 14 feet above the tracks to the 
north of the railroad bridge and northwest of the corner of Elm and 
Houston, approximately 50 yards from the back of the Depository.'^" 
(See Commission Exhibit No. 2218, p. 73.) From the tower he could 
view people moving in the railroad yards and at the rear of the 
Depository. According to Bowers, "Since approximately 10 o'clock 
in the morning traffic had been cut off into the area so that anyone 
moving around could adtually be observed." During the 20 minutes 
prior to the arrival of the motorcade, Bowers noticed three auto- 
mobiles which entered his immediate area ; two left without discharg- 
ing any passengers and the third was apparently on its way out when 
last observed by Bowers.^^ Bowers observed only three or four people 
in the general area, as well as a few bystanders on the railroad bridge 
over the Triple Underpass." 

As the motorcade proceeded toward the Triple Underpass, the spec- 
tators were clustered together along the east concrete wall of the 
railroad bridge facing the oncoming procession.'^* (See Commission 
Exhibit No. 2215, p. 75.) Patrolman Foster stood immediately be- 
hind them and could observe all of them.'^^ Secret Service agents in 
the lead car of the motorcade observed the bystanders and the police 
officer on the bridge. '^^ Special Agent Winston G. Lawson motioned 
through the windshield in an unsuccessful attempt to instruct Patrol- 
man Foster to move the people away from their position directly over 
the path of the motorcade.'^ Some distance away, on the Stemmons 
Freeway overpass above Elm Street, Patrolman Murphy also had the 
group on the railroad bridge within view." When he heard the shots, 
Foster rushed to the wall of the railroad bridge over the Triple 
Underpass and looked toward the street." After the third shot, 
Foster ran toward the Depository and shortly thereafter informed 


Commission Exhibit No. 2118 

730-900 0-64— 7 



Commission Exhibit No. 2215 


Inspector Herbert J. Sawyer of the Dallas Police Department that 
he thought the shots came from the vicinity of Elm and Houston.^° 

Other witnesses on the railroad bridge had varying views concern- 
ing the source and number of the shots. Austin L. Miller, employed 
by the Texas-Louisiana Freight Bureau, heard three shots and thought 
that they came from the area of the Presidential limousine itself.^^ 
One of his coworkers, Royce G. Skelton, thought he heard four shots, 
but could not tell their exact source.*^ Frank E. Reilly, an electri- 
cian at Union Terminal, heard three shots which seemed to come from 
the trees "On the north side of Elm Street at the corner up there." 
According to S. M. Holland, there were four shots which sounded as 
though they came from the trees on the north side of Elm Street where 
he saw a puff of smoke.^* Thomas J. Murphy, a mail foreman at 
Union Terminal Co., heard two shots and said that they came from 
a spot just west of the Depository .^^ In the railroad tower, Bowers 
heard three shots, which sounded as though they came either from 
the Depository Building or near the mouth of the Triple Underpass. 
Prior to November 22, 1963, Bowers had noted the similarity of the 
sounds coming from the vicinity of the Depository and those from 
the Triple Underpass, which he attributed to "a reverberation which 
takes place from either location." ^® 

Immediately after the shots were fired, neither the policemen nor 
the spectators on the railroad bridge over the Triple Underpass saw 
anything suspicious on the bridge in their vicinity. (See Com- 
mission Exhibit No. 2214, p. 74.) No one saw anyone with a rifle. 
As he ran around through the railroad yards to the Depository, 
Patrolman Foster saw no suspicious activity.^^ The same was true 
of the other bystanders, many of whom made an effort after the 
shooting to observe any unusual activity. Holland, for example, 
immediately after the shots, ran off the overpass to see if there 
was anyone behind the picket fence on the north side of Elm Street^ 
but he did not see anyone among the parked cars.®® Miller did not see 
anyone running across the railroad tracks or on the plaza west of the 
Depository.®^ Bowers and others saw a motorcycle officer dismount 
hurriedly and come running up the incline on the north side of Elm 
Street.^° The motorcycle officer, Clyde A. Haygood, saw no one 
running from the railroad yards.^^ 


After the Presidential car was returned to Washington on Novem- 
ber 22, 1963, Secret Service agents found two bullet fragments in the 
front seat. One fragment, found on the seat beside the driver, weighed 
44.6 grains and consisted of the nose portion of a bullet.^^ The other 
fragment, found along the right side of the front seat, weighed 21.0 
grains and consisted of the base portion of a bullet.®^ During the 
course of an examination on November 23, agents of the Federal 
Bureau of Investigation found three small lead particles, weighing 


between seven-tenths and nine-tenths of a grain each, on the rug 
underneath the left jump seat which had been occupied by Mrs. 
Connally.^* During this examination, the Bureau agents noted a 
small residue of lead on the inside surface of the laminated windshield 
and a very small pattern of cracks on the outer layer of the wind- 
shield immediately behind the lead residue.®^ There was a minute 
particle of glass missing from the outside surface, but no penetration. 
The inside layer of glass was not broken.^^ The agents also observed a 
dent in the strip of chrome across the top of the windshield, located 
to the left of the rear view mirror support.^^ 

The lead residue on the inside of the windshield was compared 
under spectrographic analysis by FBI experts with the bullet frag- 
ments found on and alongside the front seat and with the fragments 
under the left jump seat. It was also compared with bullet fragments 
found at Parkland Hospital. All these bullet fragments were found 
to be similar in metallic composition, but it was not possible to 
determine whether two or more of the fragments came from the same 
bullet.^^ It is possible for the fragments from the front seat to have 
been a part of the same bullet as the three fragments found near the 
left jump seat,^^ since a whole bullet of this type weighs 160-161 
grains.^°* (See app. X, pp. 555-558.) 

The physical characteristics of the windshield after the assassina- 
tion demonstrate that the windshield was struck on the inside surface. 
The windshield is composed of two layers of glass with a very thin 
layer of plastic in the middle "which bonds them together in the form of 
safety glass." The windshield was extracted from the automobile 
and was examined during a Commission hearing.^^^ ( See Commission 
Exhibit No. 350, p. 78.) According to Robert A. Frazier, FBI 
firearms expert, the fact that cracks were present on the outer layer of 
glass showed that the glass had been struck from the inside. He 
testified that the windshield 

could not have been struck on the outside surface because of 
the manner in which the glass broke and further because of the 
lead residue on the inside surface. The cracks appear in the 
outer layer of the glass because the glass is bent outward at the 
time of impact which stretches the outer layer of the glass to 
the point where these small radial or wagon spoke, wagon wheel 
spoke- type cracks appear on the outer surf ace.^^^ 

Although there is some uncertainty whether the dent in the chrome on 
the windshield was present prior to the assassination,^^* Frazier 
testified that the dent "had been caused by some projectile which struck 
the chrome on the inside surface." If it was caused by a shot during 
the assassination, Frazier stated that it would not have been caused 
by a bullet traveling at full velocity, but rather by a fragment traveling 
at "fairly high velocity." "® It could have been caused by either 
fragment found in the front seat of the limousine.^^^ 


^ CotnmiGsion Exhibit I^o. 

Commission Exhibit No. 350 
Windshield of Presidential limousine. 



On the sixth, floor of the Depository Building, the Dallas police 
found three spent cartridges and a rifle. A nearly whole bullet was 
discovered on the stretcher used to carry Governor Connally at Park- 
land Hospital. As described in the preceding section, five bullet 
fragments were found in the President's limousine. The cartridge 
cases, the nearly whole bullet and the bullet fragments were all sub- 
jected to firearms identification analysis by qualified experts. It was 
the unanimous opinion of the experts that the nearly whole bullet, the 
two largest bullet fragments and the three cartridge cases were defi- 
nitely fired in the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository 
Building to the exclusion of all other weapons. 

Discovery of Cartridge Cases and Rifle 

Shortly after the assassination, police officers arrived at the Deposi- 
tory Building and began a search for the assassin and evidence.^^^ 
Around 1 p.m. Deputy Sheriff Luke Mo,oney noticed a pile of cartons 
in front of the window in the southeast comer of the sixth floor. 
(See Commission Exhibit No. 723, p. 80.) Searching that area he 
found at approximately 1 :12 p.m. three empty cartridge cases on 
the floor near the window.^^^ When he was notified of Mooney's 
discovery, Capt. J. W. Fritz, chief of the homicide bureau of the 
Dallas Police Department, issued instructions that nothing be moved or 
touched until technicians from the police crime laboratory could take 
photographs and check for fingerprints.^^^ Mooney stood guard 
to see that nothing was disturbed.^^^ A few minutes later, Lt. J. C. 
Day of the Dallas Police Department arrived and took photographs 
of the cartridge cases before anything had been moved.^^^ 

At 1 :22 p.m. Deputy Sheriff Eugene Boone and Deputy Constable 
Seymour Weitzman found a bolt-action rifle with a telescopic sight 
between two rows of boxes in the northwest corner near the staircase 
on the sixth floor.^^^ No one touched the weapon or otherwise dis- 
turbed the scene until Captain Fritz and Lieutenant Day arrived and 
the weapon was photographed as it lay on the floor.^^^ After Lieu- 
tenant Day determined that there were no fingerprints on the knob 
of the bolt and that the wooden stock was too rough to take finger- 
prints, he picked the rifle up by the stock and held it that way while 
Captain Fritz opened the bolt and ejected a live round.^^^ Lieutenant 
Day retained possession of the weapon and took it back to the police 
department for examination.^^^ Neither Boone nor Weitzman handled 
the rifle.i^« 

Discovery of Bullet at Parkland Hospital 

* A nearly whole bullet was found on Governor Connally's stretcher 
at Parkland Hospital after the assassination. After his arrival at the 
hospital the Governor was brought into trauma room No. 2 on a 



stretcher, removed from the room on that stretcher a short time later, 
and taken on an elevator to the second-floor operating room.^^^ On the 
second floor he was transferred from the stretcher to an operating 
table which was then moved into the operating room, and a hospital 
attendant wheeled the empty stretcher into an elevator.^^^ Shortly 
afterward, Darrell C. Tomlinson, the hospital's senior engineer, re- 
moved this stretcher from the elevator and placed it in the corridor 
on the ground floor, alongside another stretcher wholly unconnected 
with the care of Governor Connally/^^ A few minutes later, he 
bumped one of the stretchers against the wall and a bullet rolled 


Although Tomlinson was not certain whether the bullet came from 
the Conn ally stretcher or the adjacent one, the Commission has con- 
cluded that the bullet came from the Governor's stretcher. That con- 
clusion is buttressed by evidence which eliminated President Ken- 
nedy's stretcher as a source of the bullet. President Kennedy re- 
mained on the stretcher on which he was carried into the hospital 
while the doctors tried to save his life.^^^ He was never removed from 
the stretcher from the time he was taken into the emergency room 
until his body was placed in a casket in that same room.^^^ After the 
President's body was removed from that stretcher, the linen was taken 
off and placed in a hamper and the stretcher was pushed into trauma 
room No. 2, a completely different location from the site where the 
nearly whole bullet was f ound.^^^ 

Description of Rifle 

The bolt-action, clip- fed rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depos- 
itory, described more fully in appendix X, is inscribed with various 
markings, including "MADE ITALY," "CAL. 6.5," "1940" and the 
number C2766.126 (g^^ Commission Exhibit Nos. 1303, 541(2) and 
541(3), pp. 82-83.) These markings have been explained as follows: 
"MADE ITALY" refers to its origin; "CAL. 6.6" refers to the rifle's 
caliber; "1940" refers to the year of manufacture; and the number 
C2766 is the serial number. This rifle is the only one of its type bear- 
ing that serial number.^^^ After review of standard reference works 
and the markings on the rifle, it was identified by the FBI as a 6.5- 
millimeter model 91/38 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. Experts from 
the FBI made an independent determination of the caliber by insert- 
ing a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5-millimeter cartridge into the weapon 
for fit, and by making a sulfur cast of the inside of the weapon's 
barrel and measuring the cast with a micrometer/^^ From outward 
appearance, the weapon would appear to be a 7.35-millimeter rifle, but 
its mechanism had been rebarreled with a 6.5-millimeter barrel.^^° 
Constable Deputy Sheriff Weitzman, who only saw the rifle at a glance 
and did not handle it, thought the weapon looked like a 7.65 Mauser 
bolt-action rifle.^^^ (See chapter V, p. 235.) 

The rifle is 40.2 inches long and weighs 8 pounds.^^^ The minimum 
length broken down is 34.8 inches, the length of the wooden stock.^'^ 


Commission Exhibit No. 1303 


"~ - CoOTjission Rxi.ifclt No. 5^1 

Commission Exhibits Nos. 541(2) and 541(3) 
Photograph of markings on C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle. 

(See Commission Exhibit No. 1304, p. 132.) Attached to the weapon 
is an inexpensive four-power telescopic sight, stamped "Optics Ord- 
nance Inc./Hollywood California," and "Made in Japan." The 
weapon also bears a sling consisting of two leather straps. The sling 
is not a standard rifle sling but appears to be a musical instrument 
strap or a sling from a carrying case or camera bag.^^^ 

Expert Testimony 

Four experts in the field of firearms identification analyzed the 
nearly whole bullet, the tAvo largest fragments and the three cartridge 
cases to determine whether they had been fired from the C2766 Mann- 
licher-Carcano rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository. Two of 
these experts testified before the Commission. One was Kobert A. 
Frazier, a special agent of the FBI assigned to the FBI Laboratory 
in Washington, D.C. Frazier has worked generally in the field of 
firearms identification for 23 years, examining firearms of various 
types for the purpose of identifying the caliber and other character- 
istics of the weapons and making comparisons of bullets and cartridge 
cases for the purpose of determining whether or not they Avere fired 
in a particular weapon.^^^ He estimated that he has made "in the 
neighborhood of 50,000 to 60,000" firearms comparisons and has testi- 
fied in court on about 400 occasions.^^^ The second witness who testified 
on this subject was Joseph D. Nicol, superintendent of the bureau of 
criminal identification and investigation for the State of Illinois. 
Nicol also has had long and substantial experience since 1941 in fire- 
arms identification, and estimated that he has made thousands of 
bullet and cartridge case examinations.^^ 

In examining the bullet fragments and cartridge cases, these ex- 
perts applied the general principles accepted in the field of firearms 
identification, which are discussed in more detail in appendix X at 
pages 547-553. In brief, a determination that a particular bullet or 
cartridge case has been fired in a particular weapon is based upon 
a comparison of the bullet or case under examination with one or 
more bullets or cases known to have been fired in that weapon. 
When a bullet is fired in any given weapon, it is engraved with the 
characteristics of the weapon. In addition to the rifling character- 
istics of the barrel which are common to all weapons of a given m,ake 
and model, every weapon bears distinctive microscopic markings on 
its barrel, firing pin and bolt face.^^^ These markings arise initially 
during manufacture, since the action of the manufacturing tools 
differs microscopically from weapon to weapon and since, in addi- 
tion, the tools change microscopically while being used. As a weapon 
is used further distinctive markings are introduced. Under micro- 
scopic examination a qualified expert may be able to determine 
whether the markings on a bullet known to have been fired in a 
particular weapon and the markings on a suspect bullet are the same 
and, therefore, whether both bullets were fired in the same weapon 


to the exclusion of all other weapons. Similarly, firearms identifica- 
tion experts are able to compare the markings left upon the base of 
cartridge cases and thereby determine whether both cartridges were 
fired by the same w^eapon to the exclusion of all other weapons. 
According to Frazier, such an identification "is made on the presence 
of sufficient individual microscopic characteristics so that a very defi- 
nite pattern is formed and visualized on the two surfaces.'^ Under 
some circumstances, as where the bullet or cartridge case is seriously 
mutilated, there are not sufficient individual characteristics to enable 
the expert to make a firm identification.^*^ 

After making independent examinations, both Frazier and Nicol 
positively identified the nearly whole bullet from the stretcher and 
the two larger bullet fragments found in the Presidential limousine 
as having been fired in the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found 
in the Depository to the exclusion of all other weapons.^*^ Each of 
the two bullet fragments had sufficient unmutilated area to provide 
the basis for an identification.^*^ However, it was not possible to 
determine whether the two bullet fragments were from the same bullet 
or from two different bullets.^** With regard to the other bullet frag- 
ments discovered in the limousine and in the course of treating Presi- 
dent Kennedy and Governor Connally, however, expert examination 
could demonstrate only that the fragments were "similar in metallic 
composition" to each other, to the two larger fragments and to the 
nearl}^ whole buUet.^*^ After examination of the three cartridge cases 
found on the sixth floor of the Depository, Frazier and Nicol concluded 
that they had been fired in the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle to 
the exclusion of all other weapons.^*^ Tavo other experts from the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation, who made independent examinations 
of the nearly whole bullet, bullet fragments and cartridge cases, 
reached the identical conclusions.^*^ 


In considering the question of the source of the shots fired at Presi- 
dent Kennedy and Governor Connally, the Commission has also eval- 
uated the expert medical testimony of the doctors who observed the 
wounds during the emergency treatment at Parkland Hospital and 
during the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital. It paid particular 
attention to any wound characteristics which would be of assistance 
in "identifying a wound as the entrance or exit point of a missile. 
Additional information regarding the source and nature of the in- 
juries was obtained by expert examination of the clothes worn by the 
two men, particularly those worn by President Kennedy, and from 
the results of special wound ballistics tests conducted at the Commis- 
sion's request, using the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle wdth am- 
munition of the same type as that used and found on November 22, 


The President's Head Wounds 

' The detailed autopsy of President Kennedy performed on the night 
of November 22 at the Bethesda Naval Hospital led the three examin- 
ing pathologists to conclude that the smaller hole in the rear of the 
President's skull was the point of entry and that the large opening 
on the right side of his head was the wound of exit.^^^ The smaller 
hole on the back of the President's head measured one-fourth of an 
inch by five-eighths of an inch (6 by 15 millimeters).^*^ The dimen- 
sions of that wound were consistent with having been caused by a 
6.5-millimeter bullet fired from behind and above which struck at a 
tangent or an angle causing a 15-millimeter cut. The cut reflected a 
larger dimension of entry than the bullet's diameter of 6.5 millimeters, 
since the missile, in effect, sliced along the skull for a fractional dis- 
tance until it entered.^^^ The dimension of 6 millimeters, somewhat 
smaller than the diameter of a 6.5-millimeter bullet, was caused by 
the elastic recoil of the skull which shrinks the size of an opening after 
a missile passes through it.^^^ 

Lt. Col. Pierre A. Finck, Chief of the Wound Ballistics Pathology 
Branch of the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, who has had 
extensive experience with bullet womids, illustrated the characteris- 
tics which led to his conclusions about the head wound by a chart 
prepared by him. This chart, based on Colonel Finck's studies of 
more than 400 cases, depicted the effect of a perforating missile wound 
on the human skuU.^^^ When a bullet enters the skull (cranial vault) 
at one point and exits at another, it causes a beveling or crater ing 
effect where the diameter of the hole is smaller on the impact side than 
on the exit side. Based on his observations of that beveling effect 
on the President's skull, Colonel Finck testified : "President Kennedy 
was, in my opinion, shot from the rear. The bullet entered in the 
back of the head and went out on the right side of his skull * * * he 
was shot from above and behind." 

Comdr. James J. Humes, senior pathologist and director of 
laboratories at the Bethesda Naval Hospital, who acted as chief 
autopsy surgeon, concurred in Colonel Finck's analysis. He com- 
pared the beveling or coning effect to that caused by a BB shot 
which strikes a pane of glass, causing a round or oval defect on the 
side of the glass where the missile strikes and a belled-out or coned-out 
surface on the opposite side of the glass.^^* Referring to the bullet 
hole on the back of President Kennedy's head. Commander Humes 
testified: "The wound on the inner table, however, was larger and 
had what in the field of wound ballistics is described as a shelving or 
coning effect." After studying the other hole in the President's 
skull. Commander Humes stated ; * * we concluded that the large 
defect to the upper right side of the skull, in fact, would represent 
a wound of exit." Those characteristics led Commander Humes 
and Comdr. J. Thornton Boswell, chief of pathology at Bethesda 
Naval Hospital, who assisted in the autopsy, to conclude that the bullet 


penetrated the rear of the President's head and exited through a 
large wound on the right side of his head.^^^ 

Ballistics experiments (discussed more fully in app. X, pp. 585-586) 
showed that the rifle and bullets identified above were capable of 
producing the President's head wound. The Wound Ballistics Branch 
of the U.S. Army laboratories at Edgewood Arsenal, Md., conducted 
an extensive series of experiments to test the effect of Western Car- 
tridge Co. 6.5-millimeter bullets, the type found on Governor Con- 
nally's stretcher and in the Presidential limousine, fired from the 
C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle found in the Depository. The Edge- 
wood Arsenal tests were performed under the immediate supervision 
of Alfred G. Olivier, a doctor who had spent 7 years in wounds bal- 
listics research for the U.S. Army.^^ 

One series of tests, performed on reconstructed inert human skulls, 
demonstrated that the President's head wound could have been caused 
by the rifle and bullets fired by the assassin from the sixth-floor 
window. The results of this series were illustrated by the findings on 
one skull which was struck at a point closely approximating the 
wound of entry on President Kennedy's head. That bullet blew out 
the right side of the reconstructed skull in a manner very similar to 
the head wound of the President.^^^ As a result of these tests. Dr. 
Olivier concluded that a Western Cartridge Co. 6.5 bullet fired from 
the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at a distance of 90 yards would 
make the same type of wound as that found on the President's head. 
Eef erring to the series of tests, Dr. Olivier testified : 

It disclosed that the type of head wounds that the President 
received could be done by this type of bullet. This surprised 
me very much, because this type of stable bullet I didn't think 
would cause a massive head wound, I thought it would go 
through making a small entrance and exit, but the bones of the 
skull are enough to deform the end of this bullet causing it to 
expend a lot of energy and blowing out the side of the 
skull or blowing out fragments of the skull.^^*' 

After examining the fragments of the bullet which struck the recon- 
structed skull. Dr. Olivier stated that — 

the recovered fragments were very similar to the ones recovered 
on the front seat and on the floor of the car. 

This, to me, indicates that those fragments did come from the 
bullet that wounded the President in the head.^^^ 

The President's Neck Wounds 

During the autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital another bullet 
wound was observed near the base of the back of President Kennedy's 
neck slightly to the right of his spine which provides further enlight- 
enment as to the source of the shots. The hole was located appr,oxi- 


mately 5^/^ inches (14 centimeters) from the tip of the right shoulder 
joint and approximately the same distance below the tip of the right 
mastoid process, the bony point immediately beliind the ear.^^^ 
womid was approximately one-fourth by one-seventh of an inch (7 by 
4 millimeters), had clean edges, was sharply delineated, and had 
margins similar in all respects to those of the entry wound in the 
skull.^^^ Commanders Humes and Boswell agreed with Colonel 
Finck's testimony that this hole — 

* * * is a wound of entrance. * * * The basis for that con- 
clusion is that this wound was relatively small with clean edges. 
It was not a jagged wound, and that is what we see in wound of 
entrance at a long range.^^* 

The autopsy examination further disclosed that, after entering the 
President, the bullet passed between two large muscles, produced a 
contusion on the upper part of the pleural cavity (without penetrating 
that cavity), bruised the top portion of the right lung and ripped the 
windpipe (trachea) in its path through the President's neck.^^^ The 
examining surgeons concluded that the wounds were caused by the 
bullet rather than the tracheotomy performed at Parkland Hospital. 
The nature of the bruises indicated that the President's heart and 
lungs were functioning when the bruises were caused, whereas there 
was very little circulation in the President's body when incisions on 
the President's chest were made to insert tubes during the tracheot- 
Qj^y 166 hone was struck by the bullet which passed through the 
President's body.^^^ By projecting from a point of entry on the rear 
of the neck and proceeding at a slight downward angle through the 
bruised interior portions, the doctors concluded that the bullet exited 
from the front portion of the President's neck that had been cut away 
by the tracheotomy .^^^ 

Concluding that a bullet passed through the President's neck, the 
doctors at Bethesda Naval Hospital rejected a theory that the bullet 
lodged in the large muscles in the back of his neck and fell out through 
the point of entry when external heart massage was applied at Park- 
land Hospital. In the earlier stages of the autopsy, the surgeons w^ere 
unable to find a path into any large muscle in the back of the neck. 
At that time they did not know that there had been a bullet hole in the 
front of the President's neck when he arrived at Parkland Hospital 
because the tracheotomy incision had completely eliminated that evi- 
dence.^^^ While the autopsy was being performed, surgeons learned 
that a whole bullet had been found at Parkland Hospital on a stretcher 
which, at that time, was thought to be the stretcher occupied by the 
President. This led to speculation that the bullet might have pene- 
trated a short distance into the back of the neck and then dropped out 
onto the stretcher as a result of the external heart massage.^^^ 

Further exploration during the autopsy disproved that theory. The 
surgeons determined that the bullet had passed between two large strap 
muscles and bruised them without leaving any channel, since the bullet 


merely passed between them.^^^ Commander Hmnes, who believed 
that a tracheotomy had been performed from his observations at the 
autopsy, talked by telephone with Dr. Perry early on the morning of 
November 23, and learned that his assmnption was correct and that 
Dr. Perry had used the missile wound in the neck as the point to make 
the incision.^^^ This confirmed the Bethesda surgeons' conclusion 
that the bullet had exited from the front part of the neck. 

The findings of the doctors who conducted the autopsy were con- 
sistent with the observations of the doctors who treated the President 
at Parkland Hospital. Dr. Charles S. Carrico, a resident surgeon at 
Parkland, noted a small wound approximately one- fourth of an inch 
in diameter (5 to 8 millimeters) in the lower third of the neck below the 
Adam's apple.^" Dr. Malcolm O. Perry, who performed the trache- 
otomy, described the wound as approximately one-fifth of an inch in 
diameter (5 millimeters) and exuding blood which partially hid edges 
that were "neither cleancut, that is, punched out, nor were they very 
ragged." Dr. Carrico testified as follows : 

Q. Based on your observations on the neck wound alone did youi 
have a sufficient basis to form an opinion as to whether it was an 
entrance or an exit wound ? 

A. No, sir; we did not. Not having completely evaluated all 
the wounds, traced out the course of the bullets, this wound would 
have been compatible with either entrance or exit wound depend- 
ing upon the size, the velocity, the tissue structure and so f orth.^^'^ 

The same response was made by Dr. Perry to a similar query : 

Q. Based on the appearance of the neck wound alone, could it 
have been either an entrance or an exit wound ? 
A. It could have been either.^^^ 

Then each doctor was asked to take into account the other known facts, 
such as the autopsy findings, the approximate distance the bullet 
traveled and tested muzzle velocity of the assassination weapon. With 
these additional factors, the doctors commented on the wound on the 
front of the President's neck as follows : 

Dr. Carrico. With those facts and the fact as I understand it 
no other bullet was found this would be, this was, I believe, was an 
exit wound.^^^ 

Dr. Perry. A full jacketed bullet without deformation passing 
through skin would leave a similar wound for an exit and entrance 
wound and with the facts which you have made available and with 
these assumptions, I believe that it was an exit wound.^^^ 

Other doctors at Parkland Hospital who observed the wound prior 
to the tracheotomy agreed with the observations of Drs. Perry and 
Carrico.^^^ The bullet wound in the neck could be seen for only a short 
time, since Dr. Perry eliminated evidence of it when he performed 


730-900 0-64— 8 

the tracheotomy. He selected that spot since it was the point where 
such an operation was customarily performed, and it was one of the 
safest and easiest spots from which to reach the trachea. In addition, 
there was possibly an imderlying wound to the muscles in the neck, the 
carotid artery or the jugular vein, and Dr. Perry concluded that the 
incision, therefore, had to be low in order to maintain respiration.^^" 

Considerable confusion has arisen because of comments attributed 
to Dr. Perry concerning the nature of the neck wound. Immediately 
after the assassination, many people reached erroneous conclusions 
about the source of the shots because of Dr. Perry's observations to 
the press. On the afternoon of November 22, a press conference 
was organized at Parkland Hospital by members of the White House 
press staff and a hospital administrator. Newsmen with microphones 
and cameras were crowded into a room to hear statements by Drs. 
Perry and William Kemp Clark, chief neurosurgeon at Parkland, 
who had attended to President Kennedy's head injury. Dr. Perry de- 
scribed the situation as "bedlam." The confusion was compounded 
by the fact that some questions were only partially answered before 
other questions were asked.^^^ 

At the news conference. Dr. Perry answered a series of hypothetical 
questions and stated to the press that a variety of possibilities could 
account for the President's wounds. He stated that a single bullet 
could have caused the President's wounds by entering through the 
throat, striking the spine, and being deflected upward with the point 
of exit being through the head.^^^ This would have accomited for the 
two wounds he observed, the hole in the front of the neck and the 
large opening in the skull. At that time, Dr. Perry did not know 
about either the wound on the back of the President's neck or the 
small bullet-hole wound in the back of the head. As described in 
chapter II, the President was lying on his back during his entire 
time at Parkland. The small hole in the head was also hidden from 
view by the large quantity of blood which covered the President's head. 
Dr. Perry said his answers at the press conference were intended to 
convey his theory about what could have happened, based on his lim- 
ited Imowledge at the time, rather than his professional opinion about 
what did happen.^^* Commenting on his answers at the press confer- 
ence. Dr. Perry testified before the Commission : 

I expressed it [his answers] as a matter of speculation that this 
was conceivable. But, again, Dr. Clark [who also answered 
questions at the conference] and I emphasized that we had no way 
of knowing.^^^ 

Dr. Perry's recollection of his comments is corroborated by some of 
the news stories after the press conference. The New York Herald 
Tribune on November 23, 1963, reported as follows: 

Dr. Malcolm Perry, 34, attendant surgeon at Parkland Hos- 
pital who attended the President, said he saw two wounds — 


one below the Adam's apple, the other at the back of the head. 
He said he did not know if two bullets were involved. It is 
possible, he said, that the neck wound was the entrance and the 
other the exit of the missile.^®® 

According to this report, Dr. Perry stated merely that it was "possible" 
that the neck wound was a wound of entrance. This conforms with 
his testimony before the Commission, where he stated that by them- 
selves the characteristics of the neck wound were consistent with 
being either a point of entry or exit. 

Wound hallistics tests. — Experiments performed by the Army 
Wound Ballistics experts at Edgewood Arsenal, Md. (discussed in 
app. X, p. 582) showed that under simulated conditions entry and 
exit wounds are very similar in appearance. After reviewing the path 
of the bullet through the President's neck, as disclosed in the autopsy 
report, the experts simulated the neck by using comparable material 
with a thickness of approximately 5i/^ inches (131/^ to 141/^ centi- 
meters) , which was the distance traversed by the bullet. Animal skin 
was placed on each side, and Western Cartridge Co. 6.5 bullets were 
fired from the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle from a distance of 180 
feet. The animal skin on the entry side showed holes which were 
regular and round. On the exit side two holes were only slightly elon- 
gated, indicating that the bullet had become only a little unstable at 
the point of exit.^^^ A third exit hole was round, although not quite 
as regular as the entry holes.^^® The exit holes, especiall}' the one most 
nearly round, appeared similar to the descriptions given by Drs. Perry 
and Carrico of the hole in the front of the President's neck.^^^ 

The autopsy disclosed that the bullet which entered the back of 
the President's neck hit no bony structure and proceeded in a slightly 
downward angle. The markings on the President's clothing indicate 
that the bullet moved in a slight right to left lateral direction as 
it passed through the President's body.^^ After the examining doc- 
tors expressed the thought that a bullet would have lost very little 
velocity in passing through the soft tissue of the neck, wound ballistics 
experts conducted tests to measure the exit velocity of the bullet.^^^ 
The tests were the same as those used to create entry and exit holes, 
supplemented by the use of break-type screens which measured the 
velocity of bullets. The entrance velocity of the bullet fired from the 
rifle averaged 1,904 feet per second after it traveled 180 feet. The 
exit velocity averaged 1,772 to 1,798 feet per second, depending upon 
the substance through which the bullet passed. A photograph of the 
path of the bullet traveling through the simulated neck showed that it 
proceeded in a straight line and was stable.^®^ 

Examination of clothing. — The clothing worn by President Kennedy 
on November 22 had holes and tears which showed that a missile 
entered the back of his clothing in the vicinity of his lower neck 
and exited through the front of his shirt immediately behind his tie, 
nicking the knot of his tie in its forward flight.^^^ Although the caliber 
of the bullet could not be determined and some of the clothing items 


precluded a positive determination that some tears were made by 
a bullet, all the defects could have been caused by a 6. 5 -millimeter 
bullet entering the back of the President's lower neck and exiting in 
the area of the knot of his tie.^^* 

An examination of the suit jacket worn by the President by FBI 
Agent Frazier revealed a roughly circular hole approximately one- 
fourth of an inch in diameter on the rear of the coat, 5% inches below 
the top of the collar and 1% inches to the right of the center back seam 
of the coat.^^^ The hole was visible on the upper rear of the coat slightly 
to the right of center. Traces of copper were found in the margins 
of the hole and the cloth fibers around the margins were pushed in- 
ward.^^^ Those characteristics established that the hole was caused 
by an entering bullet.^^^ Although the precise size of the bullet could 
not be determined from the hole, it was consistent with having been 
made by a 6.5-millimeter bullet.^^® 

The shirt worn by the President contained a hole on the back side 
5% inches below the top of the collar and 1% inches to the right of 
the middle of the back of the shirt.^^^ The hole on the rear of the 
shirt was approximately circular in shape and about one- fourth of an 
inch in diameter, with the fibers pressed inward. These factors 
established it as a bullet entrance hole.^^^ The relative position of the 
hole in the back of the suit jacket to the hole in the back of the shirt 
indicated that both were caused by the same penetrating missile. 

On the front of the shirt, examination revealed a hole seven-eighths 
of an inch below the collar button and a similar opening seven-eighths 
of an inch below the buttonhole. These two holes fell into alinement 
on overlapping positions when the shirt was buttoned.^^^ Each hole 
was a vertical, ragged slit approximately one-half of an inch in height, 
with the cloth fibers protruding outward. Although the characteristics 
of the slit established that the missile had exited to the front, the 
irregular nature of the slit precluded a positive determination that it 
was a bullet hole.^^* However, the hole could have been caused by a 
round bullet although the characteristics were not sufficiently clear to 
enable the examining expert to render a conclusive opinion.^^^ 

When the President's clothing was removed at Parkland Hospital, 
his tie was cut off by severing the loop immediately to the wearer's 
left of the knot, leaving the knot in its original condition.^^® The tie 
had a nick on the left side of the knot.^^^ The nick was elongated 
horizontally, indicating that the tear was made by some object mov- 
ing horizontally, but the fibers were not affected in a manner which 
would shed light on the direction or the nature of the missile.^^^ 

The Governor's Wounds 

While riding in the right jump seat of the Presidential limousine 
on November 22, Governor Connally sustained wounds of the back, 
chest, right wrist and left thigh. Because of the small size and clean- 
cut edges of the wound on the Governor's back, Dr. Eobert Shaw con- 
cluded that it was an entry wound.^°^ The bullet traversed the Gov- 


ernor's chest in a downward angle, shattering his fifth rib, and exited 
below the right nipple.^^° The ragged edges of the 2-inch (5 cen- 
timeters) opening on the front of the chest led Dr. Shaw to conclude 
that it was the exit point of the bullet.^^^ When Governor Connally 
testified before the Commission 5 months after the assassination, on 
April 21, 1964, the Commission observed the Governor's chest wounds, 
as well as the injuries to his wrist and thigh and watched Dr. Shaw 
measure with a caliper an angle of declination of 25° from the 
point of entry on the back to the point of exit on the front of the 
Governor's chest. 

At the time of the shooting. Governor Connally was unaware 
that he had sustained any injuries other than his chest wounds.^^^ On 
the back of his arm, about 2 inches (5 centimeters) above the wrist 
joint on the thumb side. Dr. Charles F. Gregory observed a linear 
perforating wound approximately one-fifth of an inch (one-half 
centimeter) wide and 1 inch (2i/^ centimeters) long.^^* During his 
operation on this injury, the doctor concluded that this ragged wound 
was the point of entry because thread and cloth had been carried into 
the wound to the region of the bone.^^^ Dr. Gregory's conclusions were 
also based upon the location in the Governor's wrist, as revealed by 
X-ray, of small fragments of metal shed by the missile upon striking 
the firm surface of the bone.^^^ Evidence of different amounts of air 
in the tissues of the wrist gave further indication that the bullet passed 
from the back to the front of the wrist.^^^ An examination of the 
palm surface of the wrist showed a wound approximately one-fifth 
of an inch (one-half centimeter) long and approximately three- fourths 
of an inch (2 centimeters) above the crease of the right wrist.^^* Dr. 
Shaw had initially believed that the missile entered on the palm side of 
the Governor's wrist and exited on the back side.^^^ After reviewing 
the factors considered by Dr. Gregory, however, Dr. Shaw withdrew 
his earlier opinion. He deferred to the judgment of Dr. Gregory, who 
had more closely examined that wound during the wrist operation.^^^ 

In addition. Governor Connally suffered a puncture wound in the 
left thigh that was approximately two-fifths of an inch (1 centimeter) 
in diameter and located approximately 5 or 6 inches above the Gov- 
ernor's left knee.^^^ On the Governor's leg, very little soft-tissue 
damage was noted, which indicated a tangential wound or the penetra- 
tion of a larger missile entering at low velocity and stopping after 
entering the skin.^^^ X-ray examination disclosed a tiny metallic 
fragment embedded in the Governor's leg.^^^ The surgeons who 
attended the Governor concluded that the thigh wound was not caused 
by the small fragment in the thigh but resulted from the impact of a 
larger missile. 

Examination of clothing. — The clothing worn by Governor Connally 
on November 22, 1963, contained holes which matched his wounds. 
On the back of the Governor's coat, a hole was found 1% inches 
from the seam where the right sleeve attached to the coat and 714 
inches to the right of the midline. This hole was elongated in a 
horizontal direction approximately five-eighths of an inch in length 


and one- fourth of an inch in height.^^® The front side of the Gover- 
nor's coat contained a circular hole three-eighths of an inch in diameter, 
located 5 inches to the right of the front right edge of the coat slightly 
above the top button.^^^ A rough hole approximately five-eighths of an 
inch in length and three-eighths of an inch in width was found near the 
end of the right sleeve.^^^ Each of these holes could have been caused 
by a bullet, but a positive determination of this fact or the direction 
of the missile was not possible because the garment had been cleaned 
and pressed prior to any opportunity for a scientific examination.^^^ 

An examination of the Governor's shirt disclosed a very ragged 
tear five-eighths of an inch long horizontally and one-half of an inch 
vertically on the back of the shirt near the right sleeve 2 inches from 
the line where the sleeve attaches.^^^ Immediately to the right was 
another small tear, approximately three-sixteenths of an inch long.^^^ 
The two holes corresponded in position to the hole in the back of the 
Governor's coat.^^^ A very irregular tear in the form of an "H" was 
observed on the front side of the Governor's shirt, approximately 1% 
inches high, with a crossbar tear approximately 1 inch wide, located 5 
inches from the right side seam and 9 inches from the top of the right 
sleeve.^^^ Because the shirt had been laundered, there were insufficient 
characteristics for the expert examiner to form a conclusive opinion 
on the direction or nature of the object causing the holes.^^* The rear 
hole could have been caused by the entrance of a 6.5-millimeter bullet 
and the front hole by the exit of such a bullet.^^^ 

On the French cuff of the right sleeve of the Governor's shirt was 
a ragged, irregularly shaped hole located II/2 inches from the end of 
the sleeve and 5i/^ inches from the outside cuff-link hole."^ The char- 
acteristics after laundering did not permit positive conclusions but 
these holes could have been caused by a bullet passing through the 
Governor's right wrist from the back to the front sides.^" The Gov- 
ernor's trousers contained a hole approximately one- fourth of an inch 
in diameter in the region of the left knee.^^* The roughly circular 
shape of the hole and the slight tearing away from the edges gave the 
hole the general appearance of a bullet hole but it was not possible to 
determine the direction of the missile which caused the hole.^^^ 

Course of huTlet. — Ballistics experiments and medical findings es- 
tablished that the missile which passed through the Governor's wrist 
and penetrated his thigh had first traversed his chest. The Army 
Wound Ballistics experts conducted tests which proved that the Gov- 
ernor's wrist wound was not caused by a pristine bullet. (See app. 
X, pp. 582-585.) A bullet is pristine immediately on exiting from a 
rifle muzzle when it moves in a straight line with a spimiing motion and 
maintains its uniform trajectory with but a minimum of nose surface 
striking the air through which it passes.^'*^ When the straight line of 
flight of a bullet is deflected by striking some object, it starts to wobble 
or become irregular in flight, a condition called yaw.^*^ A bullet with 
yaw has a greater surface exposed to the striking material or air, 
since the target or air is struck not only by the nose of the bullet, its 
smallest striking surface, but also by the bullet's sides.^*^ 


The ballistics experts learned the exact nature of the Governor's 
wrist wound by examining Parkland Hospital records and X-rays and 
conferring with Dr. Gregory. The C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle 
found in the Depository was fired with bullets of the same type as 
the bullet found on the Governor's stretcher and the fragments found 
in the Presidential limousine. Shots were fired from a distance of 
70 yards at comparable flesh and bone protected by material similar 
to the clothing worn by the Governor.^^^ One of the test shots 
wounded the comparable flesh and bone structure in virtually the same 
place and from the same angle as the wound inflicted on Governor 
Connally's wrist. An X-ray and photograph of the simulated wrist 
confirmed the similarity.^* The bullet which inflicted that injury 
during the tests had a nose which was substantially flattened from 
striking the material.^^ The striking velocity at 70 yards of seven 
shots fired during the tests averaged 1,858 feet per second ; the average 
exit velocity of five shots was 1,776 feet per second.^*® 

The conclusion that the Governor's wrist was not struck by a pristine 
bullet was based upon the following : (1) greater damage was inflicted 
on the test material than on the Governor's wrist; (2) the test ma- 
terial had a smaller entry wound and a larger exit wound, characteristic 
of a pristine bullet, while the Governor's wrist had a larger entry 
wound as compared with its exit wound, indicating a bullet which 
was tumbling; (3) cloth was carried into the wrist wound, which 
is characteristic of an irregular missile ;2*^ (4) the partial cutting of 
a radial nerve and tendon leading to the Governor's thumb further 
suggested that the bullet which struck him was not pristine, since 
such a bullet would merely push aside a tendon and nerve rather than 
catch and tear them;^^^ (5) the bullet found on the Governor's 
stretcher probably did not pass through the wrist as a pristine bullet 
because its nose was not considerably flattened, as was the case with 
the pristine bullet which struck the simulated wrist; and (6) the 
bullet which caused the Governor's thigh injury and then fell out of 
the wound had a "very low velocity," whereas the pristine bullets 
fired during the tests possessed a very high exit velocity.^^^ 

AH the evidence indicated that the bulM found on the Governor's 
stretcher could have caused all his wounds. The weight of the whole 
bullet prior to firing was approximately 160-161 grains and that of 
the recovered bullet was 158.6 grains.^^^ An X-ray of the Governor's 
wrist showed very minute metallic fragments, and two or three of 
these fragments were removed from his wrist.^^* All these fragments 
were suflSciently small and light so that the nearly whole bullet found 
on the stretcher could have deposited those pieces of metal as it tum- 
bled through his wrist.^^^ In their testimony, the three doctors who 
attended Governor Connally at Parkland Hospital expressed inde- 
pendently their opinion that a single bullet had passed through his 
chest; tumbled through his wrist with very little exit velocity, leaving 
small metallic fragments from the rear portion of the bullet ; punctured 
his left thigh after the bullet had lost virtually all of its velocity ; and 
had fallen out of the thigh wound.^^^ 


Governor Connally himself thought it likely that all his wounds 
were caused by a single bullet. In his testimony before the Commis- 
sion, he repositioned himself as he recalled his position on the jump 
seat, with his right palm on his left thigh, and said : 

J * ❖ ^vound up the next day realizing I was hit in three 
places, and I was not conscious of having been hit but by one 
bullet, so I tried to reconstruct how I could have been hit in three 
places by the same bullet, and I merely, I know it penetrated from 
the back through the chest first. 

I assumed that I had turned as I described a moment ago, 
placing my right hand on my left leg, that it hit my wrist, went 
out the center of the wrist, the underside, and then into my leg, 
but it might not have happened that way at all.^^^ 

The Governor's posture explained how a single missile through his 
body would cause all his wounds. His doctors at Parkland Hospital 
had recreated his position, also, but they placed his right arm some- 
what higher than his left thigh although in the same alinement.^^^ 
The wound ballistics experts concurred in the opinion that a single 
bullet caused all the Governor's wounds.^^^ 


The cumulative evidence of eyeAvitnesses, firearms and ballistic ex- 
perts and medical authorities demonstrated that the shots were fired 
from above and behind President Kennedy and Governor Comially, 
more particularly, from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book De- 
pository Building. In order to determine the facts with as much 
precision as possible and to insure that all data were consistent with 
the shots having been fired from the sixth floor window, the Commis- 
sion requested additional investigation, including the analysis of mo- 
tion picture films of the assassination and onsite tests. The facts 
developed through this investigation by the FBI and Secret Service 
confirmed the conclusions reached by the Commission regarding the 
source and trajectory of the shots which hit the President and the 
Governor. Moreover, these facts enabled the Commission to make 
certain approximations regarding the locations of the Presidential 
limousine at the time of the shots and the relevant time intervals. 

Films and Tests 

Wlien the shots rang out the Presidential limousine was moving 
beyond the Texas School Book Depository Building in a southwesterly 
direction on Elm Street between Houston Street and the Triple Under- 
pass.^^° The general location of the car was described and marked 
on maps by eyewitnesses as precisely as their observations and recol- 
lections permitted.^^^ More exact information was provided by motion 


pictures taken by Abraham Zapruder, Orville O. Nix and Mary 
Muchmore, who were spectators at the scene.^^^ Substantial light has 
been shed on the assassination sequence by viewing these motion pic- 
tures, particularly the Zapruder film, which was the most complete 
and from which individual 35 -millimeter slides were made of each 
motion picture f rame.^^ 

Examination of the Zapruder motion picture camera by the FBI 
established that 18.3 pictures or frames were taken each second, and 
therefore, the timing of certain events could be calculated by allowing 
1/18.3 seconds for the action depicted from one frame to the next.^^* 
The films and slides made from individual frames were viewed by Gov- 
ernor and Mrs. Connally, the Governor's doctors, the autopsy surgeons, 
and the Army wound ballistics scientists in order to apply the knowl- 
edge of each to determine the precise course of events.^^^ Tests of the 
assassin's rifle disclosed that at least 2.3 seconds were required between 
shots.^^^ In evaluating the films in the light of these timing guides, 
it was kept in mind that a victim of a bullet wound may not react im- 
mediately and, in some situations, according to experts, the victim may 
not even know where he has been hit, or when.^^^ 

On May 24, 1964, agents of the FBI and Secret Service conducted 
a series of tests to determine as precisely as possible what happened 
on November 22, 1963. Since the Presidential limousine was being 
remodeled and was therefore unavailable, it was simulated by using 
the Secret Service followup car, which is similar in design.^^^ Any 
differences were taken into account. Two Bureau agents with approxi- 
mately the same physical characteristics sat in the car in the same 
relative positions as President Kennedy and Governor Connally had 
occupied. The back of the stand-in for the President was marked with 
chalk at the point where the bullet entered. The Governor's model 
had on the same coat worn by Governor Connally when he was shot, 
with the hole in the back circled in chalk.^^^ 

To simulate the conditions which existed at the assassination scene 
on November 22, the lower part of the sixth-floor window at the south- 
east comer of the Depository Building was raised halfway, the card- 
board boxes were repositioned, the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle 
found on the sixth floor of the Depository was used, and mounted on 
that rifle was a camera which recorded the view as was seen by the 
assassin.2^° In addition, the Zapruder, Nix, and Muchmore cameras 
were on hand so that photographs taken by these cameras from the 
same locations where they were used on November 22, 1963, could be 
compared with the films of that date.^^^ The agents ascertained that 
the foliage of an oak tree that came between the gunman and his 
target along the motorcade route on Elm Street was approximately 
the same as on the day of the assassination.^^^ 

The First Bullet That Hit 

The position of President Kennedy's car when he was struck in the 
neck was determined with substantial precision from the films and 


onsite tests. The pictures or frames in the Zapruder film were marked 
by the agents, with the number "1" given to the first frame where the 
motorcycles leading the motorcade came into view on Houston Street.^^^ 
The numbers continue in sequence as Zapruder filmed the Presidential 
limousine as it came around the corner and proceeded down Elm. 
The President was in clear view of the assassin as he rode up Houston 
Street and for 100 feet as he proceeded down Elm Street, until he 
came to a point denoted as frame 166 on the Zapruder film.^^* These 
facts were determined in the test by placing the car and men on Elm 
Street in the exact spot where they were when each frame of the 
Zapruder film was photographed. To pinpoint their locations, a man 
stood at Zapruder's position and directed the automobile and both 
models to the positions shown on each frame, after which a Bureau pho- 
tographer crouched at the sixth-floor window and looked through a 
camera whose lens recorded the view through the telescopic sight of 
the C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano riflc^"^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 
887, p. 99.) Each position was measured to determine how far Presi- 
dent Kennedy had gone down Elm from a point, which was designated 
as station C, on a line drawn along the west curbline of Houston 

Based on these calculations, the agents concluded that at frame 166 
of the Zapruder film the President passed beneath the foliage of the 
large oak tree and the point of impact on the President's back disap- 
peared from the gunman's view as seen through the telescopic lens.^^'' 
(See Commission Exhibit No. 889, p. 100.) For a fleeting instant, 
the President came back into view in the telescopic lens at frame 186 
as he appeared in an opening among the leaves.^'^ (See Commission 
Exhibit No. 891, p. 101.) The test revealed that the next point at 
which the rifleman had a clear view through the telescopic sight of 
the point where the bullet entered the President's back was when 
the car emerged from behind the tree at frame 210.^^^ (See Commis- 
sion Exhibit No. 893, p. 102.) According to FBI Agent Lyndal L. 
Shaneyfelt, "There is no obstruction from the sixth floor window 
from the time they leave the tree until they disappear down toward 
the triple overpass." 

As the President rode along Elm Street for a distance of about 140 
feet, he was waving to the crowd. Shaneyfelt testified that the 
waving is seen on the Zapruder movie until around frame 205, when a 
road sign blocked out most of the President's body from Zapruder's 
view through the lens of his camera. However, the assassin continued 
to have a clear view of the President as he proceeded down Elm.^^^ 
When President Kennedy again came fully into view in the Zapruder 
film at frame 225, he seemed to be reacting to his neck wound by 
raising his hands to his throat.^^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 895, 
p. 103.) According to Shaneyfelt the reaction was "clearly ap- 
parent in 226 and barely apparent in 225." it is probable that the 
President was not shot before frame 210, since it is unlikely that the 
assassin would deliberately have shot at him with a view obstructed 
by the oak tree when he was about to have a clear opportunity. It is 


Commission Exhibit No. 887 
Photograph taken during reenactment showing C2766 rifle with camera attached. 



photograph through rifle scope 



95.6 FT. 


138.2 FT. 




391.5 FT. 



FRAME 166 

No. 889 



photograph through rifle scope 




116.3 FT. 


,156.3 FT. 







FRAME 186 

Exhibit No. 891 







Commission Exhibit No. 697 
Photograph of Presidential limousine taken during motorcade. 


also doubtful that even the most proficient marksman would have hit 
him through the oak tree. In addition, the President's reaction is 
"barely apparent" in frame 225, which is 15 frames or approximately 
eight-tenths second after frame 210, and a shot much before 210 would 
assume a longer reaction time than was recalled by eyewitnesses at 
the scene. Thus, the evidence indicated that the President was not 
hit until at least frame 210 and that he was probably hit by frame 225. 
The possibility of variations in reaction time in addition to the obstruc- 
tion of Zapruder's view by the sign precluded a more specific deter- 
mination than that the President was probably shot through the neck 
between frames 210 and 225, which marked his position between 138.9 
and 153.8 feet west of station C.^^^ 

According to Special Agent Eobert A. Frazier, who occupied the 
position of the assassin in the sixth-floor window during the reenact- 
ment, it is likely that the bullet which passed through the President's 
neck, as described previously, then struck the automobile or someone 
else in the automobile.^^^ The minute examination by the FBI in- 
spection team, conducted in Washington between 14 and 16 hours 
after the assassination, revealed no damage indicating that a bullet 
struck any part of the interior of the Presidential limousine, with the 
exception of the cracking of the windshield and the dent on the wind- 
shield chrome.^'®^ Neither of these points of damage to the car could 
have been caused by the bullet which exited from the President's neck 
at a velocity of 1,772 to 1,779 feet per second.^^® If the trajectory had 
permitted the bullet to strike the windshield, the bullet would have 
penetrated it and traveled a substantial distance down the road unless 
it struck some other object en route.^^^ Had that bullet struck the 
metal framing, which was dented, it would have torn a hole in the 
chrome and penetrated the framing, both inside and outside the car.^^° 
At that exit velocity, the bullet would have penetrated any other metal 
or upholstery surface of the interior of the automobile.^^^ 

The bullet that hit President Kennedy in the back and exited through 
his throat most likely could not have missed both the automobile and 
its occupants. Since it did not hit the automobile, Frazier testified 
that it probably struck Governor Connally.^®^ The relative positions 
of President Kennedy and Governor Connally at the time when the 
President was struck in the neck confirm that the same bullet probably 
passed through both men. Pictures taken of the President's limousine 
on November 22, 1963, showed that the Governor sat immediately in 
front of the President.^^^ Even though the precise distance cannot be 
ascertained, it is apparent that President Kennedy was somewhat to the 
Governor's right. The President sat on the extreme right, as noted in 
the films and by eyewitnesses, while the right edge of the jump seat in 
which the Governor sat is 6 inches from the right door.^®* (See Com- 
mission Exhibit No. 697, p. 104.) The President wore a back brace 
which tended to make him sit up straight, and the Governor also sat 
erect since the jump seat gave him little leg room.^^^ 

Based on his observations during the reenactment and the position 
of Governor Connally shown in the Zapruder film after the car 


730-900 0-64— 9 

emerged from behind the sign, Frazier testified that Governor Con- 
nally was in a position during the span from frame 207 to frame 225 
to receive a bullet which would have caused the wounds he actually 
suffered.2^^ Governor Connally viewed the film and testified that he 
was hit between frames 231 and 234.^^^ According to Frazier, between 
frames 235 and 240 the Governor turned sharply to his right, so that 
by frame 240 he was too far to the right to have received his injuries 
at that time.29^ At some point between frames 235 and 240, therefore, 
is the last occasion when Governor Connally could have received his 
injuries, since in the frames following 240 he remained turned too far 
to his right.2^^ If Governor Connally was hit by a separate shot be- 
tween frames 235 and 240 which followed the shot which hit the Presi- 
dent's neck, it would follow that : (1) the assassin's first shot, assuming 
a minimum firing time of 2.3 seconds (or 42 frames) , was fired between 
frames 193 and 198 when his view was obscured by the oak tree; (2) 
President Kennedy continued waving to the crowd after he was hit 
and did not begin to react for about li/^ seconds ; and (3) the first shot, 
although hitting no bones in the President's body, was deflected after 
its exit from the President's neck in such a way that it failed to hit 
either the automobile or any of the other occupants. 

Viewed through the telescopic sight of the C2766 Mannlicher- 
Carcano rifle from the sixth-floor window during the test, the marks 
that simulated the entry wounds on the stand-ins for the President and 
the Governor were generally in a straight line. That alinement became 
obvious to the viewer through the scope as the Governor's model 
turned slightly to his right and assumed the position which Governor 
Connally had described as his position when he was struck. Viewing 
the stand-ins for the President and the Governor in the sight of the 
C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle at the location depicted in frames 207 
and 210, Frazier testified : "They both are in direct alinement with the 
telescopic sight at the window. The Governor is immediately behind 
the President in the field of view." (See Commission Exhibit No. 
893, p. 102.) A surveyor then placed his sighting equipment at the 
precise point of entry on the back of the President's neck, assuming 
that the President was struck at frame 210, and measured the angle to 
the end of the muzzle of the rifle positioned where it was believed to 
have been held by the assassin.^^^ That angle measured 21°34'.^°2 
From the same points of reference,*the angle at frame 225 was meas- 
ured at 20° 11', giving an average angle of 20°52'30'' from frame 210 
to frame 225.^°^ Allowing for a downward street grade of 3° 9', the 
probable angle through the President's body was calculated at 
17°43'30", assuming that he was sitting in a vertical position.^*'* 

That angle was consistent with the trajectory of a bullet passing 
through the President's neck and then striking Governor Connally's 
back, causing the wounds which were discussed above. Shortly after 
that angle was ascertained, the open car and the stand-ins were taken 
by the agents to a nearby garage where a photograph was taken to 
determine through closer study whether the angle of that shot could 
have accounted for the wounds in the President's neck and the Gov- 


ernor's back.^*'^ A rod was placed at an angle of 17°43'30" next to 
the stand-ins for the President and the Governor, who were seated in 
the same relative positions. The wounds of entry and exit on the 
President were approximated based on information gained from the 
autopsy reports and photographs.^°^ The hole in the back of the jacket 
worn by the Governor and the medical description of the wound on his 
back marked that entry point.^°^ That line of fire from the sixth floor 
of the Depository would have caused the bullet to exit under the Gov- 
ernor's right nipple just as the bullet did. Governor Connally's 
doctors measured an angle of declination on his body from the entry 
wound on his back to the exit on the front of his chest at about 25° 
when he sat erect.^°^ That difference was explained by either a slight 
deflection of the bullet caused by striking the fifth rib or the Governor's 
leaning slightly backward at the time he was struck. In addition, 
the angle could not be fixed with absolute precision, since the large 
wound on the front of his chest precluded an exact determination of 
the point of exit.^^° 

The alinement of the points of entry was only indicative and not 
conclusive that one bullet hit both men. The exact positions of the 
men could not be re-created; thus, the angle could only be approxi- 
mated.^^^ Had President Kennedy been leaning forward or backward, 
the angle of declination of the shot to a perpendicular target would 
have varied. The angle of 17°43'30" was approximately the angle 
of declination reproduced in an artist's drawing.^^^ That drawing, 
made from data provided by the autopsy surgeons, could not reproduce 
the exact line of the bullet, since the exit wound was obliterated by the 
tracheotomy. Similarly, if the President or the Governor had been 
sitting in a different lateral position, the conclusion might have 
varied. Or if the Governor had not turned in exactly the way cal- 
culated, the alinement would have been destroyed. 

Additional experiments by the Army Wound Ballistics Branch 
further suggested that the same bullet probably passed through both 
President Kennedy and Governor Connally. (See app. X, pp. 
582-585. ) Correlation of a test simulating the Governor's chest wound 
with the neck and wrist experiments' indicated that course. After 
reviewing the Parkland Hospital medical records and X-rays of 
the Governor and discussing his chest injury with the attending 
surgeon, the Army ballistics experts virtually duplicated the wound 
using the assassination weapon and animal flesh covered by cloth.^^^ 
The bullet that struck the animal flesh displayed characteristics similar 
to the bullet foimd on Governor Connally's stretcher.^^* Moreover, 
the imprint on the velocity screen immediately behind the animal 
flesh showed that the bullet was tumbling after exiting from the flesh, 
having lost a total average of 265 feet per second.^^^ Taking into 
consideration the Governor's size, the reduction in velocity of a 
bullet passing through his body would be approximately 400 feet per 

Based upon the medical evidence on the wounds of the Governor 
and the President and the womid ballistics tests performed at Edge- 



wood Arsenal, Drs. Olivier and Arthur J. Dziemian, chief of the 
Army Wound Ballistics Branch, who had spent 17 years in that area of 
specialization, concluded that it was probable that the same bullet 
passed through the President's neck and then inflicted all the wounds 
on the Govemor.^^^ Eeferring to the President's neck wound and 
all the Governor's wounds, Dr. Dziemian testified : "I think the prob- 
ability is very good that it is, that all the wounds were caused by one 
bullet." Both Drs. Dziemian and Olivier believed that the wound 
on the Governor's wrist would have been more extensive had the 
bullet which inflicted that injury merely passed through the Gov- 
ernor's chest, exiting at a velocity of approximately 1,500 feet per 
second.^^® Thus, the Governor's wrist wound suggested that the bullet 
passed through the President's neck, began to yaw in the air between 
the President and the Governor, and then lost more velocity than 400 
feet per second in passing through the Governor's chest. A bullet 
which was yawing on entering into the Governor's back would lose 
substantially more velocity in passing through his body than a pristine 
bullet.^2° In addition, the bullet that struck the animal flesh was 
flattened to a greater extent than the bullet which presumably struck 
the Governor's rib,^^^ which suggests that the bullet which entered the 
Governor's chest had already lost velocity by passing through the 
President's neck. Moreover, the large wound on the Governor's back 
would be explained by a bullet which was yawing, although that type 
of wound might also be accounted for by a tangential striking.^22 

Dr. Frederick W. Light, Jr., the third of the wound ballistics ex- 
perts, who has been engaged in that specialty at Edgewood Arsenal 
since 1951, testified that the anatomical findings were insufficient for 
him to formulate a firm opinion as to whether the same bullet did or 
did not pass through the President's neck first before inflicting all 
the wounds on Governor Connally.^^^ Based on the other circum- 
stances, such as the relative positions of the President and the Gov- 
ernor in the automobile, Dr. Light concluded that it was probable that 
the same bullet traversed the President's neck and inflicted all the 
wounds on Governor Connally.^^* 

The Subsequent Bullet That Hit 

After a bullet penetrated President Kennedy's neck, a subsequent 
shot entered the back of his head and exited through the upper right 
portion of his skull. The Zapruder, Nix and Muchmore films show 
the instant in the sequence when that bullet struck. ( See Commission 
Exhibit No. 902, p. 108.) That impact was evident from the ex- 
plosion of the President's brain tissues from the right side of his head. 
The immediately preceding frame from the Zapruder film shows the 
President slumped to his left, clutching at his throat, with his chin 
close to his chest and his head tilted forward at an angle.^^^ Based 
upon information provided by the doctors who conducted the autopsy, 
an artist's drawing depicted the path of the bullet through the Presi- 
dent's head, with his head being in the same approximate position.^^^ 


By using the Zapruder, Nix and Muchmore motion pictures, the 
President's location at the time the bullet penetrated his head was fixed 
with reasonable precision. A careful analysis of the Nix and Much- 
more films led to fixing the exact location of these cameramen. The 
point of impact of the bullet on the President's head was apparent in 
all of the movies. At that point in the Nix film a straight line was 
plotted from the camera position to a fixed point in the background and 
the President's location along this line was marked on a plat map.^^^ 
A similar process was followed with the Muchmore film. The Presi- 
dent's location on the plat map was identical to that determined from 
the Nix film.^2^ The President's location, established through the Nix 
and Muchmore films, was confirmed by comparing his position on the 
Zapruder film. This location had hitherto only been approximated, 
since there were no landmarks in the background of the Zapruder frame 
for alinement purposes other than a portion of a painted line on the 
curb.^29 Through these procedures, it was determined that President 
Kennedy was shot in the head when he was 230.8 feet from a point on 
the west curbline on Houston Street where it intersected with Elm 
Street.^^^ The President was 265.3 feet from the rifle in the sixth-floor 
window and at that position the approximate angle of declination was 


The consensus among the witnesses at the scene was that three shots 
were fired.^^^ However, some heard only two shots,^^^ while others 
testified that they heard four and perhaps as many as five or six 
shots.^^* The difficulty of accurate perception of the sound of gunshots 
required careful scrutiny of all of this testimony regarding the number 
of shots. The firing of a bullet causes a number of noises : the muzzle 
blast, caused by the smashing of the hot gases which propel the bullet 
into the relatively stable air at the gun's muzzle ; the noise of the bullet, 
causfed by the shock wave built up ahead of the bullet's nose as it 
travels through the air; and the noise caused by the impact of the 
bullet on its target.^^^ Each noise can be quite sharp and may be 
perceived as a separate shot. The tall buildings in the area might 
have further distorted the sound. 

The physical and other evidence examined by the Commission com- 
pels the conclusion that at least two shots were fired. As discussed 
previously, the nearly whole bullet discovered at Parkland Hospital 
and the two larger fragments found in the Presidential automobile, 
which were identified as coming from the assassination rifle, came 
from at least two separate bullets and possibly from three.^^^ The 
most convincing evidence relating to the number of shots was provided 
by the presence on the sixth floor of three spent cartridges which were 
demonstrated to have been fired by the same rifle that fired the bullets 
which caused the wounds. It is possible that the assassin carried an 
empty shell in the rifle and fired only two shots, with the witnesses 
hearing multiple noises made by the same shot. Soon after the three 


empty cartridges were found, officials at the scene decided that three 
shots were fired, and that conclusion was widely circulated by the 
press. The eyewitness testimony may be subconsciously colored by 
the extensive publicity given the conclusion that three shots were fired. 
Nevertheless, the preponderance of the evidence, in particular the 
three spent cartridges, led the Commission to conclude that there were 
three shots fired. 


From the initial findings that (a) one shot passed through the 
President's neck and then most probably passed through the Governor's 
body, (2>) a subsequent shot penetrated the President's head, (c) no 
other shot struck any part of the automobile, and (d) three shots were 
fired, it follows that one shot probably missed the car and its oc- 
cupants. The evidence is inconclusive as to whether it was the first, 
second, or third shot which missed. 

The First Shot 

If the first shot missed, the assassin perhaps missed in an effort to 
fire a hurried shot before the President passed under the oak tree, or 
possibly he fired as the President passed under the tree and the tree 
obstructed his view. The bullet might have struck a portion of the 
tree and been completely deflected. On the other hand, the greatest 
cause for doubt that the first shot missed is the improbability that the 
same marksman who twice hit a moving target would be so inaccurate 
on the first and closest of his shots as to miss completely, not only the 
target, but the large automobile. 

Some support for the contention that the first shot missed is found 
in the statement of Secret Service Agent Glen A. Bennett, stationed in 
the right rear seat of the President's folio wup car, who heard a sound 
like a firecracker as the motorcade proceeded down Elm Street. At 
that moment. Agent Bennett stated : 

* * * I looked at the back of the President. I heard another 
firecracker noise and saw that shot hit the President about four 
inches down from the right shoulder. A second shot followed 
immediately and hit the right rear high of the President's head.^" 

Substantial weight may be given Bennett's observations. Although 
his formal statement was dated November 23, 1963, his notes indicate 
that he recorded what he saw and heard at 5:30 p.m., November 22, 
1963, on the airplane en route back to Washington, prior to the autopsy, 
when it was not yet known that the President had been hit in the 
back.^^® It is possible, of course, that Bennett did not observe the hole 
in the President's back, which might have been there immediately 
after the first noise. 


Governor Connally's testimony supports the view that the first 
shot missed, because he stated that he heard a shot, turned slightly 
to his right, and, as he started to turn back toward his left, was struck 
by the second bullet.^^^ He never saw the President during the shoot- 
ing sequence, and it is entirely possible that he heard the missed shot 
and that both men were struck by the second bullet. Mrs. Connally 
testified that after the first shot she turned and saw the President's 
hands moving toward his throat, as seen in the films at frame 225.^*° 
However, Mrs. Connally further stated that she thought her husband 
was hit immediately thereafter by the second bullet.^*^ If the same 
bullet struck both the President and the Governor, it is entirely possible 
that she saw the President's movements at the same time as she heard 
the second shot. Her testimony, therefore, does not preclude the pos- 
sibility of the first shot having missed. 

Other eyewitness testimony, however, supports the conclusion that 
the first of the shots fired hit the President. As discussed in chapter 
IT, Special Agent Hill's testimony indicates that the President was 
hit by the first shot and that the head injury was caused by a second 
shot which followed about 5 seconds later. James W. Altgens, a 
photographer in Dallas for the Associated Press, had stationed himself 
on Elm Street opposite the Depository to take pictures of the passing 
motorcade. Altgens took a widely circulated photograph which 
showed President Kennedy reacting to the first of the two shots which 
hit him. (See Commission Exhibit No. 900, p. 113.) According to 
Altgens, he snapped the picture "almost simultaneously" with a shot 
which he is confident was the first one fired.^*^ Comparison of his 
photograph with the Zapruder film, however, revealed that Altgens 
took his picture at approximately the same moment as frame 255 of 
the movie, 30 to 45 frames (approximately 2 seconds) later than the 
point at which the President was shot in the neck.^*^ (See Commission 
Exhibit No. 901, p. 114.) Another photographer, Phillip L. Willis, 
snapped a picture at a time which he also asserts was simultaneous 
with the first shot. Analysis of his photograph revealed that it was 
taken at approximately frame 210 of the Zapruder film, which was the 
approximate time of the shot that probably hit the President and the 
Governor. If Willis accurately recalled that there were no previous 
shots, this would be strong evidence that the first shot did not miss.^^ 

If the first shot did not miss, there must be an explanation for Gov- 
ernor Connally's recollection that he was not hit by it. There was, 
conceivably, a delayed reaction between the time the bullet struck him 
and the time he realized that he was hit, despite the fact that the bullet 
struck a glancing blow to a rib and penetrated his wrist bone. The 
Governor did not even know that he had been struck in the wrist or 
in the thigh until he regained consciousness in the hospital the next 
day. Moreover, he testified that he did not hear what he thought 
was the second shot, although he did hear a subsequent shot which 
coincided with the shattering of the President's head.^*^ One possi- 
bility, therefore, would be a sequence in which the Governor heard 
the first shot, did not, immediately feel the penetration of the bullet, 




Commission Exhibit No. 900 







181.9 FT. 


218.0 FT. 




307.1 FT. 



FRAME 255 

Commission Exhibit No. 901 


then felt the delayed reaction of the impact on his back, later heard the 
shot which shattered the President's head, and then lost consciousness 
without hearing a third shot which might have occurred later. 

The Second Shot 

The possibility that the second shot missed is consistent with the 
elapsed time between the two shots that hit their mark. From the 
timing evidenced by the Zapruder films, there was an interval of from 
4.8 to 5.6 seconds between the shot which .struck President Kennedy's 
neck (between frames 210 to 225) and the shot which struck his head 
at frame 313.^*^ Since a minimum of 2.3 seconds must elapse be- 
tween shots, a bullet could have been fired from the rifle and missed 
during this interval.^*^ This possibility was buttressed by the testi- 
mony of witnesses who claimed that the shots were evenly spaced, 
since a second shot occurring within an interval of approximately 5 
seconds would have to be almost exactly midway in this period. If 
Altgens' recollection is correct that he snapped his picture at the same 
moment as he heard a shot, then it is possible that he heard a second 
shot which missed, since a shot fired 2.3 seconds before he took his 
picture at frame 255 could have hit the President at about frame 213. 

On the other hand, a substantial majority of the witnesses stated 
that the shots were not evenly spaced. Most witnesses recalled that 
the second and third shots were bunched together, although some 
believed that it was the first and second which were bunched.^*^ To the 
extent that reliance can be placed on recollection of witnesses as to the 
spacing of the shots, the testimony that the shots were not evenly 
spaced would militate against a second shot missing. Another factor 
arguing against the second shot missing is that the gunman would have 
been shooting at very near the minimum allowable time to have fired 
the thrte shots within 4.8 to 5.6 seconds, although it was entirely pos- 
sible for him to have done so. (See ch. IV, pp. 188-194.) 

The Third Shot 

The last possibility, of course, is that it was the third shot which 
missed. This conclusion conforms most easily with the probability 
that the assassin would most likely have missed the farthest shot, 
particularly since there was an acceleration of the automobile after 
the shot which struck the President's head. The limousine also 
changed direction by following the curve to the right, whereas pre- 
viously it had been proceeding in almost a straight line with a rifle 
protruding from the sixth-floor window of the Depository Building. 

One must consider, however, the testimony of the witnesses 
who described the head shot as the concluding event in the as- 
sassination sequence. Illustrative is the testimony of Associated 
Press photographer Altgens, who had an excellent vantage point 
near the President's car. He recalled that the shot which hit the Presi- 
dent's head "was the last shot — that much I will say with a great degree 


of certainty." On the other hand, Emmett J. Hudson, the grounds- 
keeper of Dealey Plaza, testified that from his position on Elm Street, 
midway between Houston Street and the Triple Underpass, he heard 
a third shot after the shot which hit the President in the head.^^° In 
addition, Mrs. Kennedy's testimony indicated that neither the first 
nor the second shot missed. Immediately after the first noise she 
turned, because of the Governor's yell, and saw her husband raise 
his hand to his forehead. Then the second shot struck the President's 

Some evidence suggested that a third shot may have entirely missed 
and hit the turf or street by the Triple Underpass. Royce G. Skelton, 
who watched the motorcade from the railroad bridge, testified that 
after two shots "the car came on down close to the Triple Underpass" 
and an additional shot "hit in the left front of the President's car on 
the cement." Skelton thought that there had been a total of four 
shots, either the third or fourth of which hit in the vicinity of the un- 
derpass.^^^ Dallas Patrolman J. W. Foster, who was also on the 
Triple Underpass, testified that a shot hit the turf near a manhole 
cover in the vicinity of the underpass.^^* Examination of this area, 
however, disclosed no indication that a bullet struck at the locations 
indicated by Skelton or Foster.^'''' 

At a different location in Dealey Plaza, the evidence indicated that 
a bullet fragment did hit the street. James T. Tague, who got out of 
his car to watch the motorcade from a position between Commerce and 
Main Streets near the Triple Underpass, was hit on the cheek by an 
object during the shooting.^^^ Within a few minutes Tague reported 
this to Deputy Sheriff Eddy R. Walthers, who was examining the area 
to see if any bullets had struck the turf.^^^ Walthers immediately 
started to search where Tague had been standing and located a place 
on the south curb of Main Street where it appeared a bullet had hit the 
cement.^^^ According to Tague, "There was a mark quite obviously 
that was a bullet, and it was very fresh." In Tague 's opinion, it was 
the second shot which caused the mark, since he thinks he heard the 
third shot after he was hit in the face.^^° This incident appears to 
have been recorded in the contemporaneous report of Dallas Patrol- 
man L. L. Hill, who radioed in around 12 :40 p.m. : "I have one guy 
that was possibly hit by a richochet from the bullet off the concrete." 
Scientific examination of the mark on the south curb of Main Street by 
FBI experts disclosed metal smears which, "were spectrographically 
determined to be essentially lead with a trace of antimony." The 
mark on the curb could have originated from the lead core of a bullet 
but the absence of copper precluded "the possibility that the mark on 
the curbing section was made loj an unmutilated military full 
metal- jacketed bullet such as the bullet from Governor Connally's 

It is true that the noise of a subsequent shot might have been drowned 
out by the siren on the Secret Service followup car immediately after 
the head shot, or the dramatic effect of the head shot might have caused 
so much confusion that the memory of subsequent events was blurred. 


Nevertheless, the preponderance of the eyewitness testimony that the 
head shot was the final shot must be weighed in any determination as 
to whether it was the third shot that missed. Even if it were caused 
by a bullet fragment, the mark on the south curb of Main Street cannot 
be identified conclusively with any of the three shots fired. Under the 
circmnstances it might have come from the bullet which hit the Presi- 
dent's head, or it might have been a product of the fragmentation of 
the missed shot upon hitting some other object in the area.^^* Since he 
did not observe any of the shots striking the President, Tague's 
testimony that the second shot, rather than the third, caused the 
scratch on his cheek, does not assist in limiting the possibilities. 

The wide range of possibilities and the existence of conflicting 
testimony, when coupled with the impossibility of scientific verifica- 
tion, precludes a conclusive finding by the Commission as to which 
shot missed. 


Witnesses at the assassination scene said that the shots were fired 
within a few seconds, with the general estimate being 5 to 6 seconds.^^^ 
That approximation was most probably based on the earlier publicized 
reports that the first shot struck the President in the neck, the sec- 
ond wounded the Governor and the third shattered the President's 
head, with the time span from the neck to the head shots on the Presi- 
dent being approximately 5 seconds. As previously indicated, the 
time span between the shot entering the back of the President's neck 
and the bullet which shattered his skull was 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. If the 
second shot missed, then 4.8 to 5.6 seconds was the total time span of the 
shots. If either the first or third shots missed, then a minimum of 2.3 
seconds (necessary to operate the rifle) must be added to the time span 
of the shots which hit, giving a minimum time of 7.1 to 7.9 seconds for 
the three shots. If more than 2.3 seconds elapsed between a shot that 
missed and one that hit, then the time span would be correspondingly 


Based on the evidence analyzed in this chapter, the Commission has 
concluded that the shots which killed President Kennedy and wounded 
Governor Connally were fired from the sixth-floor window at the 
southeast comer of the Texas School Book Depository Building. Two 
bullets probably caused all the wounds suffered by President Kennedy 
and Governor Connally. Since the preponderance of the evidence 
indicated that three shots were fired, the Commission concluded that 
one shot probably missed the Presidential limousine and its occupants, 
and that the three shots were fired in a time period ranging from 
approximately 4.8 to in excess of 7 seconds. 



The Assassin 

THE PRECEDING chapter has established that the bullets 
which killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Con- 
nally were fired from the southeast corner window of the sixth 
floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building and that the 
weapon which fired these bullets was a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5-milli- 
meter Italian rifle bearing the serial number C2766. In this chapter 
the Commission evaluates the evidence upon which it has based its con- 
clusion concerning the identity of the assassin. This evidence includes 
(1) the ownership and possession of the weapon used to commit the 
assassination, (2) the means by which the weapon was brought into 
the Depository Building, (3) the identity of the person present at the 
window from which the shots were fired, (4) the killing of Dallas 
Patrolman J. D. Tippit within 45 minutes after the assassination, 
(5) the resistance to arrest and the attempted shooting of another 
police officer by the man (Lee Harvey Oswald) subsequently accused 
of assassinating President Kennedy and killing Patrolman Tippit, (6) 
the lies told to the police by Oswald, (7) the evidence linking Oswald 
to the attempted killing of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker (Resigned, 
U.S. Army) on April 10, 1963, and (8) Oswald's capability with a 


Purchase of Rifle by Oswald 

Shortly after the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle was found on the sixth 
floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building,^ agents of the 
FBI learned from retail outlets in Dallas that Crescent Firearms, 
Inc., of New York City, was a distributor of surplus Italian 6.5-milli- 
meter military rifles.^ During the evening of November 22, 1963, 
a review of the records of Crescent Firearms revealed that the 
firm had shipped an Italian carbine, serial number C2766, to Klein's 
Sporting Goods Co., of Chicago, 111.^ After searching their records 
from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. the officers of Klein's discovered that a rifle 
bearing serial number C2766 had been shipped to one A. Hidell, 


Post Office Box 2915, Dallas, Tex., on March 20, 1963.* (See Wald- 
man Exhibit No. 7, p. 120.) 

According to its microfilm records, Klein's received an order for a 
rifle on March 13, 1963, on a coupon clipped from the February 1963 
issue of the American Rifleman magazine. The order coupon was 
signed, in handprinting, "A. Hidell, P. O. Box 2915, Dallas, Texas." 
(See Commission Exhibit No. 773, p. 120.) It was sent in an en- 
velope bearing the same name and return address in handwriting. 
Document examiners for the Treasury Department and the FBI 
testified unequivocally that the bold printing on the face of the mail- 
order coupon was in the handprinting of Lee Harvey Oswald and that 
the writing on the envelope was also his.^ Oswald's writing on these 
and other documents was identified by comparing the writing and 
printing on the documents in question with that appearing on docu- 
ments known to have been written by Oswald, such as his letters, pass- 
port application, and endorsements of checks.^ (See app. X, p. 

In addition to the order coupon the envelope contained a U.S. 
postal money order for $21.45, purchased as No. 2,202,130,462 in 
Dallas, Tex., on March 12, 1963.^ The canceled money order was 
obtained from the Post Office Department. Opposite the printed 
words "Pay To" were written the words "Kleins Sporting Goods," 
and opposite the printed word "From" were written the words "A. 
Hidell, P. O. Box 2915 Dallas, Texas." These words were also in 
the handwriting of Lee Harvey Oswald.* (See Commission Exhibit 
No. 788, p. 120.) 

From Klein's records it was possible to trace the processing of the 
order after its receipt. A bank deposit made on March 13, 1963, in- 
cluded an item of $21.45. Klein's shipping order form shows an im- 
print made by the cash register which recorded the receipt of $21.45 on 
March 13, 1963. This price included $19.95 for the rifle and the scope, 
and $1.50 for postage and handling. The rifle without the scope cost 
only $12.78.^ 

According to the vice president of Klein's, William Waldman, the 
scope was mounted on the rifle by a gunsmith employed by Klein's, 
and the rifle was shipped fully assembled in accordance with customary 
company procedures.^^ The specific rifle shipped against the order 
had been received by Klein's from Crescent on February 21, 1963. 
It bore the manufacturer's serial number C2766. On that date, Klein's 
placed an internal control number VC836 on this rifle." According 
to Klein's shipping order form, one Italian carbine 6.5 X-4X scope, 
control number VC836, serial number C2766, was shipped parcel post 
to "A. Hidell, P. O. Box 2915, Dallas, Texas," on March 20, 1963.^ 
Information received from the Italian Arm.ed Forces Intelligence 
Service has established that this particular rifle was the only rifle of 
its type bearing serial number 02766.^^ (See app. X, p. 554.) 

The post office box to which the rifle was shipped was rented to 
"Lee H. Oswald" from October 9, 1962, to May 14, 1963.^* Experts 
on handwriting identification from the Treasury Department and the 




X X^'/^e^'iu.*^^ 




FBI testified that the signature and other writing on the application 
for that box were in the handwriting of Lee Harvey Oswald,^^ as 
was a change-of-address card dated May 12, 1963,^^ by which Oswald 
requested that mail addressed to that box be forwarded to him in 
New Orleans, where he had moved on April 24.^^ Since the rifle 
was shipped from Chicago on March 20, 1963, it was received in Dallas 
during the period when Oswald rented and used the box. ( See Com- 
mission Exhibit No. 791, p. 120.) 

It is not known whether the application for post office box 2915 
listed "A. HidelP' as a person entitled to receive mail at this box. 
In accordance with postal regulations, the portion of the application 
which lists names of persons, other than the applicant, entitled to re- 
ceive mail was thrown away after the box was closed on May 14, 
1963.^® Postal Inspector Harry D. Holmes of the Dallas Post Office 
testified, however, that when a package is received for a certain box, 
a notice is placed in that box regardless of whether the name on the 
package is listed on the application as a person entitled to receive mail 
through that box. The person having access to the box then takes the 
notice to the window and is given the package. Ordinarily, Inspector 
Holmes testified, identification is not requested because it is assumed 
that the person with the notice is entitled to the package.^^ 

Oswald's use of the name "Hidell" to purchase the assassination 
weapon was one of several instances in which he used this name as 
an alias. When arrested on the day of the assassination, he had in 
his possession a Smith & Wesson .38 caliber revolver purchased by 
mail-order coupon from Seaport-Traders, Inc., a mail-order division 
of George Eose & Co., Los Angeles. The mail-order coupon listed 
the purchaser as "A. J. Hidell Age 28" with the address of post office 
box 2915 in Dallas.^^ Handwriting experts from the FBI and 
the Treasury Department testified that the writing on the mail-order 
form was that of Lee Harvey Oswald.^^ 

Among other identification cards in Oswald's wallet at the time of 
his arrest were a Selective Service notice of classification, a Selective 
Service registration certificate,^^ and a certificate of service in the U.S. 
Marine Corps,^^ all three cards being in his own name. Also in his 
wallet at that time were a Selective Service notice of classification and 
a Marine certificate of service in the name of Alek James 
Hidell.^^ On the Hidell Selective Service card there appeared 
a signature, "Alek J. Hidell," and the photograph of Lee 
Harvey Oswald.^^ Experts on questioned documents from the 
Treasury Department and the FBI testified that the Hidell cards 
were counterfeit photographic reproductions made by photographing 
the Oswald cards, retouching the resulting negatives, and producing 
prints from the retouched negatives. The Hidell signature on the 
notice of classification was in the handwriting of Oswald.^^ ( See app. 
X,p. 572.) 

In Oswald's personal effects found in his room at 1026 North Beckley 
Avenue in Dallas was a purported international certificate of vac- 
cination signed by "Dr. A. J. Hideel," Post Office Box 30016, New 


730-900 0-64— 10 

Orleans.^^ It certified that Lee Harvey Oswald had been A^acci- 
nated for smallpox on June 8, 1963. This, too, was a forgery. The sig- 
nature of "A. J. Hideel" was in the handwriting of Lee HarVey 
Oswald.^^ There is no "Dr. Hideel'* licensed to practice medicine in 
Louisiana. ^° There is no post office box 30016 in the New Orleans Post 
Office but Oswald had rented post office box 30061 in X ew Orleans on 
June 3, 1963, listing Marina Oswald and A. J. Hidell as additional 
persons entitled to receive mail in the box.^^ The New Orleans postal 
authorities had not discarded the portion of the application listing 
the names of those, other than the owner of the box, entitled to re- 
ceive mail through the box. Expert testimony confirmed that the 
writing on this application was that of Lee Harvey Oswald.^^ 

Hidell's name on the post office box application was part of Oswald's 
use of a nonexistent Hidell to serve as president of the so-called 
New Orleans Chapter of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee. (As 
discussed below in ch.VI, p. 292.) Marina Oswald testified that she 
first learned of Oswald's use of the fictitious name "Hidell" in con- 
nection with his pro-Castro acti^dties in New Orleans.^* According 
to her testimony, he compelled her to write the name "Hidell" on mem- 
bership cards in the space designated for the signature of the "Chap- 
ter President." The name "Hidell" was stamped on some of the 
"Chapter's" printed literature and on the membership application 
blanks.^^ Marina Oswald testified, "I knew there was no such organi- 
zation. And I know Hidell is merely an altered Fidel, and I 
laughed at such foolishness." Hidell was a fictitious president of an 
organization of which Oswald was the only member.^^ 

IVlien seeking employment in New Orleans, Oswald listed a "Sgt. 
Kobt. Hidell" as a reference on one job application^® and "George 
Hidell" as a reference on another.*^ Both names were found to be 
fictitious.*^ Moreover, the use of "Alek" as a first name for Hidell 
is a further link to Oswald because "Alek" was Oswald's nickname 
in Russia.*^ Letters received by Marina Oswald from her husband 
signed "Alek" were given to the Commission.*^ 

Oswald's Palmprint on Rifle Barrel 

Based on the above evidence, the Commission concluded that Oswald 
purchased the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building. 
Additional evidence of ownership was provided in the form of palm- 
print identification which indicated that Oswald had possession of 
the rifle he had purchased. 

A few minutes after the rifle was discovered on the sixth floor of 
the Depository Building ** it was examined by Lt. J. C. Day of the 
identification bureau of the Dallas police. He lifted the rifle by the 
wooden stock after his examination convinced him that the wood 
was too rough to take fingerprints. Capt. J. W. Fritz then ejected a 
cartridge by operating the bolt, but only after Day viewed the knob 
on the bolt through a magnifying glass and found no prints.*^ Day 
continued to examine the rifle with the magnifying glass, looking for 


possible fingerprints. He applied fingerprint powder to the side of 
the metal housing near the trigger, and noticed traces of two prints.*^ 
At 11 :45 p.m. on November 22, the rifle was released to the FBI and 
forwarded to Washington where it was examined on the morning of 
November 23 by Sebastian F. Latona, supervisor of the Latent Fin- 
gerprint Section of the FBI's Identification Division.^ ^ 

In his testimony before the Commission, Latona stated that when 
he received the rifle, the area where prints were visible was protected 
by cellophane.*^ He examined these prints, as well as photographs 
of them which the Dallas police had made, and concluded that : 

* * * the formations, the ridge formations and characteristics, 
were insufficient for purposes of either effecting identification or a 
determination that the print was not identical with the prints of 
people. Accordingly, my opinion simply was that the latent 
prints which were there were of no value.*® 

Latona then processed the complete weapon but developed no 
identifiable prints.^^ He stated that the poor quality of the wood 
and the metal would cause the rifle to absorb moisture from the skin, 
thereby making a clear print unlikely.^^ 

On November 22, however, before surrendering possession of the 
rifle to the FBI Laboratory, Lieutenant Day of the Dallas Police De- 
partment had "lifted" a palmprint from the underside of the gun bar- 
rel "near the firing end of the barrel about 3 inches under the 
Woodstock when I took the w^oodstock loose." "Lifting" a print in- 
volves the use of adhesive material to remove the fingerprint powder 
which adheres to the original print. In this way the powdered im- 
pression is actually removed from the object.*^ The lifting had been 
so complete in this case that there was no trace of the print on the 
rifle itself when it was examined by Latona. Nor was there any indi- 
cation that the lift had been performed.^* I^ay, on the other 
hand, believed that sufficient traces of the print had been left on the 
rifle iDarrel, because he did not release the lifted print until Novem- 
ber 26, when he received instructions to send "everything that we 
had" to the FBI.^^ The print arrived in the FBI Laboratory in 
Washington on November 29, mounted on a card on which Lieutenant 
Day had written the words "off underside gun barrel near end of fore- 
grip C2766." The print's positive identity as having been lifted 
from the rifle was confirmed by FBI Laboratory tests which estab- 
lished that the adhesive material bearing the print also bore impres- 
sions of the same irregularities that appeared on the barrel of the 

Latona testified that this palmprint was the right palmprint of 
Lee Harvey Oswald.^* At the request of the Commission, Arthur 
Mandella, fingerprint expert with the New York City Police Depart- 
ment, conducted an independent examination and also determined 
that this was the right palmprint of Oswald.^® Latona's findings 
were also confirmed by Eonald G. Wittmus, another FBI fingerprint 


expert.®*^ In the opinion of these experts, it was not possible to esti- 
mate the time which elapsed between the placing of the print on the 
rifle and the date of the lift.^^ 

Experts testifying before the Commission agreed that palmprints 
are as unique as fingerprints for purposes of establishing identifica- 
tion.^^ Oswald's palmprint on the underside of the barrel demon- 
strates that he handled the rifle when it was disassembled. A palm- 
print could not be placed on this portion of the rifle, when assembled, 
because the wooden foregrip covers the barrel at this point.^^ The 
print is additional proof that the rifle was in Oswald's possession. 

Fibers on Rifle 

In a crevice between the butt plate of the rifle and the wooden 
stock was a tuft of several cotton fibers of dark blue, gray-black, and 
orange-yellow shades.^* On November 23, 1963, these fibers were 
examined by Paul M. Stombaugh, a special agent assigned to the Hair 
and Fiber Unit of the FBI Laboratory.^^ He compared them with 
the fibers found in the shirt which Oswald was wearing when ar- 
rested in the Texas Theatre.^^ This shirt was also composed of dark 
blue, gray-black and orange-yellow cotton fibers. Stombaugh testi- 
fied that the colors, shades, and twist of the fibers found in the tuft 
on the rifle matched those in Oswald's shirt.®^ (See app. X, p. 592.) 

Stombaugh explained in his testimony that in fiber analysis, as 
distinct from fingerprint or firearms identification, it is not possible 
to state with scientific certainty that a particular small group of 
fibers come from a certain piece of clothing to the exclusion of all 
others because there are not enough microscopic characteristics pres- 
ent in fibers.^^ Judgments as to probability will depend on the num- 
ber and types of matches.^*^ He concluded, "There is no doubt 
in my mind that these fibers could have come from this shirt. There 
is no way, however, to eliminate the possibility of the fibers having 
come from another identical shirt." 

Having considered the probabilities as explained in Stombaugh's 
testimony, the Commission has concluded that the fibers in the tuft 
on the rifle most probably came from the shirt worn by Oswald when 
he was arrested, and that this was the same shirt which Oswald wore on 
the morning of the assassination. Marina Oswald testified that she 
thought her husband wore this shirt to work on that day."^^ The testi- 
mony of those who saw him after the assassination was inconclusive 
about the color of Oswald's shirt,^^ but Mary Bledsoe, a former land- 
lady of Oswald, saw him on a bus approximately 10 minutes after 
the assassination and identified the shirt as being the one worn by 
Oswald primarily because of a distinctive hole in the shirt's right 
elbow.^^ Moreover, the bus transfer which he obtained as he left the 
bus was still in the pocket when he was arrested. '^^ Although Oswald 
returned to his roominghouse after the assassination and when ques- 
tioned by the police, claimed to have changed his shirt,^^ the evidence 


indicates that he continued wearing the same shirt which he was wear- 
ing all morning and which he was still wearing when arrested. 

In light of these findings the Commission evaluated the additional 
testimony of Stombaugh that the fibers were caught in the crevice of 
the rifle's butt plate "in the recent past." Although Stombaugh 
was unable to estimate the period of time the fibers were on the rifle 
he said that the fibers "were clean, they had good color to them, there 
was no grease on them and they were not fragmented. They looked 
as if they had just been picked up." The relative freshness of the 
fibers is strong evidence that they were caught on the rifle on the 
morning of the assassination or during the preceding evening. For 
10 days prior to the eve of the assassination Oswald had not been pres- 
ent at Ruth Paine's house in Irving, Tex.,^^ where the rifle was kept.^^ 
Moreover, the Commission found no reliable evidence that Oswald 
used the rifle at any time between September 23, when it was trans- 
ported from Xew Orleans, and November 22, the day of the assassina- 
tion.®° The fact that on the morning of the assassination Oswald was 
wearing the shirt from which these relatively fresh fibers most prob- 
ably originated, provides some evidence that they were placed on the 
rifle that day since there was limited, if any, opportunity for Oswald 
to handle the weapon during the 2 months prior to November 22. 

On the other hand Stombaugh pointed out that fibers might retain 
their freshness if the rifle had been "put aside" after catching the fibers. 
The rifle used in the assassination probably had been wrapped in a 
blanket for about 8 weeks prior to November 22.^^ Because the rela- 
tive freshness of these fibers might be explained by the continuous 
storage of the rifle in the blanket, the Commission was unable to reach 
any firm conclusion as to when the fibers were caught in the rifle. The 
Commission was able to conclude, however, that the fibers most prob- 
ably came from Oswald's shirt. This adds to the conviction of the 
Commission that Oswald owned and handled the weapon used in the 

Photograph of Oswald With Rifle 

During the period from March 2, 1963, to April 24, 1963, the 
Oswalds lived on Neely Street in Dallas in a rented house which 
had a small back yard.®^ One Sunday, while his wife was hanging 
diapers, Oswald asked her to take a picture of him holding a rifle, a 
pistol and issues of two newspapers later identified as the Worker 
and the Militant.^^ Two pictures were taken. The Commission 
has concluded that the rifle shown in these pictures is the same rifle 
which was found on the sixth floor of the Depository Building on 
November 22, 1963. (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 133-A and 
133-B,p. 126.) 

One of these pictures. Exhibit No. 133-A, shows most of the rifle's 
configuration.^* Special Agent Lyndal L. Shaneyfelt, a photography 
expert with the FBI, photographed the rifle used in the assassination, 
attempting to duplicate the position of the rifle and the lighting in 
Exhibit No. 133-A.®^ After comparing the rifle in the simulated 



Commission Exhibit No. 134 
(Enlargement of Com mission Exhibit No. 133-A) 

photograph with the rifle in Exhibit No. 133-A, Shaneyfelt testified, 
"I found it to be the same general configuration. All appearances 
were the same." He found "one notch in the stock at this point 
that appears very faintly in the photograph." He stated, how- 
ever, that while he "found no differences" between the rifles in the 
two photographs, he could not make a "positive identification to the 
exclusion of all other rifles of the same general configuration." ^ 

The authenticity of these pictures has been established by expert 
testimony which links the second picture, Commission Exhibit No. 
133-B, to Oswald's Imperial Reflex camera, with which Marina Oswald 
testified she took the pictures. The negative of that picture. Com- 
mission Exhibit No. 133-B, was found among Oswald's possessions.^^ 
Using a recognized technique of determining whether a picture was 
taken with a particular camera, Shaneyfelt compared this negative 
with a negative which he made by taking a new picture with 
Oswald's camera.^^ He concluded that the negative of Exhibit No. 
133-B was exposed in Oswald's Imperial Reflex camera to the exclu- 
sion of all other cameras.^^ He could not test Exhibit No. 133-A 
in the same way because the negative was never recovered.®^ Both 
pictures, however, have identical backgrounds and lighting and, 
judging from the shadows, were taken at the same angle. They are 
photographs of the same scene.^^ Since Exhibit No. 133-B was taken 
with Oswald's camera, it is reasonably certain that Exhibit No. 133-A 
was taken by the same camera at the same time, as Marina Oswald 
testified. Moreover, Shaneyfelt testified that in his opinion the photo- 
graphs were not composites of two different photographs and that 
Oswald's face had not been superimposed on another body.^^ 

One of the photographs taken by Marina Oswald was widely 
published in newspapers and magazines, and in many instances the 
details of these pictures differed from the original, and even from 
each other, particularly as to the configuration of the rifle. The Com- 
mission sought to determine whether these photographs were re- 
touched prior to publication. Shaneyfelt testified that the published 
photographs appeared to be based on a copy of the original which 
the publications had each retouched differently.^* Several of the 
publications furnished the Commission with the prints they had used, 
or described by correspondence the retouching they had done. This 
information enabled the Commission to conclude that the published 
pictures were the same as the original except for retouching done by 
these publications, apparently for the purpose of clarifying the lines 
of the rifle and other details in the picture.®^ 

The dates surrounding the taking of this picture and the purchase of 
the rifle reinforce the belief that the rifle in the photograph is the rifle 
which Oswald bought from Klein's. The rifle was shipped from 
Klein's in Chicago on March 20, 1963, at a time when the Oswalds 
were living on Neely Street.^^ From an examination of one of the 
photographs, the Commission determined the dates of the issues of 
the Militant and the Worker which Oswald was holding in his hand. 


By checking the actual mailing dates of these issues and the time it 
usually takes to effect delivery to Dallas, it was established that the 
photographs must have been taken sometime after March 27.^^ Marina 
Oswald testified that the photographs were taken on a Sunday about 2 
weeks before the attempted shooting of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker 
on April 10, 1963.«« By Sunday, March 31, 1963, 10 days prior to the 
Walker attempt, Oswald had undoubtedly received the rifle shipped 
from Chicago on March 20, the revolver shipped from Los Angeles on 
the same date,^^ and the two newspapers which he was holding in the 

Rifle Among Oswald's Possessions 

Marina Oswald testified that the rifle found on the sixth floor of 
the Depository Building was the "fateful rifle of Lee Oswald." 
Moreover, it was the only rifle owned by her husband following his 
return from the Soviet Union in June 1962.^°^ It had been purchased 
in March 1963, and taken to New Orleans w^iere Marina Oswald saw 
it in their rented apartment during the summer of 1963.^°^ It appears 
from his wife's testimony that Oswald may have sat on the screened-in 
porch at night practicing with the rifle by looking through the tele- 
scopic sight and operating the bolf."^ In September 1963, Oswald 
loaded their possessions into a station wagon owned by Ruth Paine, 
who had invited Marina Oswald and the baby to live at her home in 
Irving,^^* Tex. Marina Oswald has stated that the rifle was among 
these possessions,^^^ although Ruth Paine testified that she was not 
aware of it.^^^ 

From September 24, 1963, when Marina Oswald arrived in Irving 
from New Orleans, until the morning of the assassination, the rifle 
was, according to the evidence, stored in a green and brown blanket 
in the Paines' garage among the Oswalds' other possessions.^°^ About 
1 week after the return from New Orleans, Marina Oswald was looking 
in the garage for parts to the baby's crib and thought that the parts 
might be in the blanket. When she started to open the blanket, she saw 
the stock of the rifle.^^® Ruth and Michael Paine both noticed the 
rolled-up blanket in the garage during the time that Marina Oswald 
was living in their home.^"® On several occasions, Michael Paine 
moved the blanket in the garage.^^^ He thought it contained tent 
poles, or possibly other camping equipment such as a folding shovel."^ 
When he appeared before the Commission, Michael Paine lifted the 
blanket with the rifle wrapped inside and testified that it appeared 
to be the same approximate weight and shape as the package in his 

About 3 hours after the assassination, a detective and deputy sheriff 
saw the blanket-roll, tied with a string, lying on the floor of the Paines' 
garage. Each man testified that he thought he could detect the out- 
line of a rifle in the blanket, even though the blanket was empty .^^^ 
Paul M. Stombaugh, of the FBI Laboratory, examined the blanket 
and discovered a bulge approximately 10 inches long midway in the 
blanket. This bulge was apparently caused by a hard protruding 


object which had stretched the blanket's fibers. It could have been 
caused by the telescopic sight of the rifle which was approximately 11 
inches long.^^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 1301:, p. 132.) 


Having reviewed the evidence that (1) Lee Harvey Oswald pur- 
chased the rifle used in the assassination, (2) Oswald's palmprint was 
on the rifle in a position which shows that he had handled it while it was 
disassembled, (3) fibers found on the rifle most probably came from the 
shirt Oswald was wearing on the day of the assassination, (4) a 
photograph taken in the yard of Oswald's apartment showed him hold- 
ing this rifle, and (5) the rifle was kept among Oswald's possessions 
from the time of its purchase until the day of the assassination, the 
Commission concluded that the rifle used to assassinate President Ken- 
nedy and wound Governor Connally was owned and possessed by 
Lee Harvey Oswald. 


The Commission has evaluated the evidence tending to show how 
Lee Harvey Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, serial number C2766, 
was brought into the Depository Building, where it was found on 
the sixth floor shortly after the assassination. In this connection the 
Commission considered (1) the circumstances surrounding Oswald's 
return to Irving, Tex., on Thursday, November 21, 1963, (2) the dis- 
appearance of the rifle from its normal place of storage, (3) Oswald's 
arrival at the Depository Building on November 22, carrying a long 
and bulky brown paper package, (4) the presence of a long handmade 
brown paper bag near the point from which the shots were fired, 
and (5) the palmprint, fiber, and paper analyses linking Oswald and 
the assassination weapon to this bag. 

The Curtain Rod Story 

During October and November of 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald lived 
in a roominghouse in Dallas while his wife and children lived in 
Irving, at the home of Ruth Paine,^^^ approximately 15 miles 
from Oswald's place of work at the Texas School Book Depository. 
Oswald traveled between Dallas and Irving on weekends in a car 
driven by a neighbor of the Paines, Buell Wesley Frazier, who also 
worked at the Depository.^^^ Oswald generally would go to Irving 
on Friday afternoon and return to Dallas Monday morning. Accord- 
ing to the testimony of Frazier, Marina Oswald, and Ruth Paine, it 
appears that Oswald never returned to Irving in midweek prior to 
November 21, 1963, except on Monday, October 21, when he visited 
his wife in the hospital after the birth of their second child.^^^ 

During the morning of November 21, Oswald asked Frazier whether 
he could ride home with him that afternoon. Frazier, surprised, asked 


him why he was going to Irving on Thursday night rather than 
Friday. Oswald replied, "I'm going home to get some curtain 
rods * * * [to] put in an apartment." "® The two men left work at 
4 : 40 p.m. and drove to Irving. There was little conversation between 
them on the way home.^^^ Mrs. Linnie Mae Kandle, Frazier's sister, 
commented to her brother about Oswald's unusual midweek return 
to Irving. Frazier told her that Oswald had come home to get curtain 

It would appear, however, that obtaining curtain rods was 
not the purpose of Oswald's trip to Irving on November 21. Mrs. 
A. C. Johnson, his landlady, testified that Oswald's room at 1026 
North Beckley Avenue had curtains and curtain rods,^^^ and that 
Oswald had never discussed the subject with her.^^^ In the Paines' 
garage, along with many other objects of a household character, 
there were two flat lightweight curtain rods belonging to Ruth 
Paine but they were still there on Friday afternoon after Oswald's 
arrest.^^^ Oswald never asked Mrs. Paine about the use of curtain 
rods,^^* and Marina Oswald testified that Oswald did not say anything 
about curtain rods on the day before the assassination.^^^ No curtain 
rods were known to have been discovered in the Depository Building 
after the assassination. In deciding whether Oswald carried a rifle 
to work in a long paper bag on November 22, the Commission gave 
weight to the fact that Oswald gave a false reason for returning home 
on November 21, and one which provided an excuse for the carrying 
of a bulky package the following morning. 

The Missing Rifle 

Before dinner on November 21, Oswald played on the lawn of the 
Paines' home with his daughter June.^^^ After dinner Ruth Paine and 
Marina Oswald were busy cleaning house and preparing their children 
for bed.^^ Between the hours of 8 and 9 p.m. they were occupied 
with the children in the bedrooms located at the extreme east end of 
the house.^2® On the west end of the house is the attached garage, 
which can be reached from the kitchen or from the outside.^^^ In the 
garage were the personal belongings of the Oswald family including, 
as the evidence has shovm, the rifle wrapped in the old brown and 
green blanket.^^^ 

At approximately 9 p.m., after the children had been put to bed, 
Mrs. Paine, according to her testimony before the Commission, "went 
out to the garage to paint some children's blocks, and worked in the 
garage for half an hour or so. I noticed when I went out that the 
light was on." Mrs. Paine was certain that she had not left the 
light on in the garage after dinner.^^^ According to Mrs. Paine, 
Oswald had gone to bed by 9 p.m. ; Marina Oswald testified that it 
was between 9 and 10 p.m.^^^ Neither Marina Oswald nor Ruth Paine 
saw Oswald in the garage.^^^ The period between 8 and 9 p.m., 
however, provided ample opportunity for Oswald to prepare the 
rifle for his departure the next morning. Only if disassembled could 


the rifle fit into the paper bag found near the window from which 
the shots were fired. A firearms expert with the FBI assembled the 
rifle in 6 minutes using a 10-cent coin as a tool, and he could dis- 
assemble it more rapidly.^^^ While the rifle may have already been 
disassembled when Oswald arrived home on Thursday, he had ample 
time that evening to disassemble the rifle and insert it into the 
paper bag. 

On the day of the assassination, Marina Oswald was watching 
television when she learned of the shooting. A short time later Mrs. 
Paine told her that someone had shot the President "from the building 
in which Lee is working." Marina Oswald testified that at that time 
"My heart dropped. I then went to the garage to see whether the 
rifle was there and I saw that the blanket was still there and I said 
*Thank God.' " She did not unroll the blanket. She saw that it was 
in its usual position and it appeared to her to have something inside."^ 

Soon afterward, at about 3 p.m., police officers arrived and searched 
the house. Mrs. Paine pointed out that most of the Oswalds' pos- 
sessions were in the garage."^ With Kuth Paine acting as an inter- 
preter, Detective Rose asked Marina whether her husband had a rifle. 
Mrs. Paine, who had no knowledge of the rifle, first said "No," but 
when the question was translated, Marina Oswald replied "Yes." 
She pointed to the blanket which was on the floor very close to where 
Ruth Paine was standing. Mrs. Paine testified : 

As she [Marina] told me about it I stepped onto the blanket 
roll. * * * And she indicated to me that she had peered into this 
roll and saw a portion of what she took to be a gun she knew her 
husband to have, a rifle. And I then translated this to the officers 
that she knew that her husband had a gun that he had stored in 
here. * * * I then stepped off of it and the officer picked it up in 
the middle and it bent so. * * * 

Mrs. Paine had the actual blanket before her as she testified and 
she indicated that the blanket hung limp in the officer's hand.^*^ 
Marina Oswald testified that this was her first knowledge that the 
rifle was not in its accustomed place.^** 

The Long and Bulky Package 

On the morning of November 22, 1963, Lee Harvey Oswald left 
the Paine house in Irving at approximately 7 :15 a.m., while Marina 
Oswald was still in bed.^*^ Neither she nor Mrs. Paine saw him leave 
the house.^*^ About half-a-block away from the Paine house was the 
residence of Mrs. Linnie Mae Randle, the sister of the man with whom 
Oswald drove to work — Buell Wesley Frazier. Mrs. Randle stated 
that on the morning of November 22, while her brother was eating 
breakfast, she looked out the breakfast-room window and saw Oswald 
cross the street and walk toward the driveway where her brother parked 
his car near the carport. He carried a "heavy brown bag." Oswald 


C2766 Mannlicher-Carcano rifle and paper bag found on the sixtli floor of the Texas 

School Book Depository. 

Commission Exhibit No. 1304 


gripped the bag in his right hand near the top. "It tapered like this 
as he hugged it in his hand. It was * * * more bulky toward the 
bottom" than toward the top.^*^ She then opened the kitchen door 
and saw Oswald open the right rear door of her brother's car and place 
the package in the back of the car.^^^ Mrs. Handle estimated that the 
package was approximately 28 inches long and about 8 inches wide.^^° 
She thought that its color was similar to that of the bag found on the 
sixth floor of the School Book Depository after the assassination.^^^ 

Frazier met Oswald at the kitchen door and together they walked to 
the car.^^2 After entering the car, Frazier glanced over his shoulder 
and noticed a brown paper package on the back seat. He asked, 
"What's the package, Lee?" Oswald replied, "curtain rods." 
Frazier told the Commission "* * * the main reason he was going 
over there that Thursday afternoon when he was to bring back 
some curtain rods, so I didn't think any more about it when he 
told me that." Frazier estimated that the bag was 2 feet long 
"give and take a few inches," and about 5 or 6 inches wide.^^^ As 
they sat in the car, Frazier asked Oswald where his lunch was, and 
Oswald replied that he was going to buy his lunch that day.^^^ Frazier 
testified that Oswald carried no lunch bag that day. "ViHien he rode 
with me, I say he always brought lunch except that one day on 
November 22 he didn't bring his lunch that day." 

Frazier parked the car in the company parking lot about 2 blocks 
north of the Depository Building. Oswald left the car first, picked 
up the brown paper bag, and proceeded toward the building ahead of 
Frazier. Frazier walked behind and as they crossed the railroad 
tracks he watched the switching of the cars. Frazier recalled that 
one end of the package was under Oswald's armpit and the lower 
part was held with his right hand so that it was carried straight 
and parallel to his body. When Oswald entered the rear door of 
the Depository Building, he was about 50 feet ahead of Frazier. It 
was the first time that Oswald had not walked with Frazier from 
the parking lot to the building entrance.^^* When Frazier entered 
the building, he did not see Oswald.^^^ One employee. Jack Dough- 
erty, believed that he saw Oswald coming to work, but he does not 
remember that Oswald had anything in his hands as he entered the 
door.^^° No other employee has been found who saw Oswald enter 
that morning.^^^ 

In deciding whether Oswald carried the assassination weapon in the 
bag which Frazier and Mrs. Randle saw, the Commission has carefully 
considered the testimony of these two witnesses with regard to the 
length of the bag. Frazier and Mrs. Eandle testified that the bag 
which Oswald was carrying was approximately 27 or 28 inches long,^^^ 
whereas the wooden stock of the rifle, which is its largest component, 
measured 34.8 inches.^®^ The bag found on the sixth floor was 38 
inches long.^«* (See Commission Exhibit No. 1304, p. 132.) 
When Frazier appeared before the Commission and was asked 
to demonstrate how Oswald carried the package, he said, "Like 
I said, I remember that I didn't look at the package very much * * * 


but when I did look at it lie did have his hands on the package like 
that," and at this point Frazier placed the upper part of the 
package under his armpit and attempted to cup his right hand beneath 
the bottom of the bag. The disassembled rifle was too long to be 
carried in this manner. Similarly, when the butt of the rifle was 
placed in Frazier 's hand, it extended above his shoulder to ear level.^®® 
Moreover, in an interview on December 1, 1963, with agents of the 
FBI, Frazier had marked the point on the back seat of his car which 
he believed was where the bag reached when it was laid on the seat 
with one edge against the door. The distance between the point on 
the seat and the door was 27 inches.^^^ 

Mrs. Randle said, when shown the paper bag, that the bag she 
saw Oswald carrjdng ''wasn't that long, I mean it was folded down at 
the top as I told you. It definitely wasn't that long." And she 
folded the bag to a length of about 28^0 inches. Frazier doubted 
whether the bag that Oswald carried was as wide as the bag found 
on the sixth floor,^^^ although Mrs. Randle testified that the width 
was approximately the same.^'° 

The Commission has weighed the visual recollection of Frazier 
and Mrs. Randle against the evidence here presented that the bag 
Oswald carried contained the assassination weapon and has con- 
cluded that Frazier and Randle are mistaken as to the length of the 
bag. Mrs. Randle saw the bag fieetingly and her first remembi^nce 
is that it was held in Oswald's right hand ''and it almost touched the 
gromid as he carried it.'* Frazier's view of the bag was from the 
rear. He continually advised that he was not paying close attention.^"- 
For example, he said, 

* * * I didn't pay too much attention the way he was walking be- 
cause I was walking along there lookmg at the railroad cars and 
watcliing the men on the diesel switch them cars and I didn't pay 
too much attention on how he carried the package at all.^'^ 

Frazier could easily have been mistaken when he stated that Oswald 
held the bottom of the bag cupped in his hand with the upper end 
tucked into his armpit. 

Location of Bag 

A handmade bag of wrapping paper and tape ^' - was found in 
the southeast corner of the sixth floor alongside the window from 
which the shots were fired.^"^ (See Commission Exhibit Xo. 2707. 
p. 142.) It was not a standard type bag which could be obtained 
in a store and it was presumably made for a particular purpose. 
It was the appropriate size to contain, in disassembled form. Oswald's 
Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, serial No. C2766, which was also found 
on the sixth floor.^^^ Three cartons had been placed at the wmdow 
apparently to act as a gmi rest and a fourth carton was placed 
behind those at the window.^^'' (See Commission Exhibit Xo. 1301. 


p. 138.) A person seated on the fourth carton could assemble the rifle 
without being seen from the rest of the sixth floor because the cartons 
stacked around the southeast corner would shield him.^^^ (See Com- 
mission Exhibit No. 723, p. 80.) The presence of the bag in this 
comer is cogent evidence that it was used as the container for the 
rifle. At the time the bag was found, Lieutenant Day of the Dallas 
police wrote on it, "Found next to the sixth floor window gun fired 
from. May have been used to carry gun. Lt. J. C. Day." 

Scientific Evidence Linking Rifle and Oswald to Paper Bag 

Oswald^s ftngerprint and palmprint found on hag. — ^Using a stand- 
ard chemical method involving silver nitrates the FBI Laboratory 
developed a latent palmprint and latent fingerprint on the bag. (See 
app. X, p. 565.) Sebastian F. Latona, supervisor of the FBI's La- 
tent Fingerprint Section, identified these prints as the left index 
fingerprint and right palmprint of Lee Harvey Oswald.^^^ The 
portion of the palm which was identified was the heel of the right 
palm, i.e., the area near the wrist, on the little finger side.^^^ These 
prints were examined independently by Ronald G. Wittmus of the 
FBI,^^^ and by Arthur Mandella, a fingerprint expert with the New 
York City Police Department.^^* Both concluded that the prints 
were the right palm and left index finger of Lee Oswald. No other 
identifiable prints were found on the bag.^^^ 

Oswald's palmprint on the bottom of the paper bag indicated, of 
course, that he had handled the bag. Furthermore, it was consistent 
with the bag having contained a heavy or bulky object when he handled 
it since a light object is usually held by the fingers.^^® The palmprint 
was found on the closed end of the bag. It w^as from Oswald's right 
hand, in which he carried the long package as he walked from Frazier's 
car to the building.^^^ 

Materials used to make 'bag. — On the day of the assassination, the 
Dallas police obtained a sample of wrapping paper and tape from 
the shipping room of the Depository and forwarded it to the FBI 
Laboratory in Washington.^^^ James C. Cadigan, a questioned-docu- 
ments expert with the Bureau, compared the samples with the paper 
and tape in the actual bag. He testified, "In all of the observations 
and physical tests that I made I found * * * the bag * * * and the 
paper sample * * * were the same." 

Among other tests, the paper and tape were submitted to fiber 
analysis and spectrographic examination.^^^ In addition the tape was 
compared to determine whether the sample tape and the tape on the 
bag had been taken from the tape dispensing machine at the Deposi- 
tory. When asked to explain the similarity of characteristics, 
Cadigan stated : 

Well, briefly, it would be the thickness of both the paper and 
the tape, the color under various lighting conditions of both the 
paper and the tape, the width of the tape, the knurled markings 


on the surfax^e of the fiber, the texture of the fiber, the felting 
pattern * * * 

* * * * * 

I found that the paper sack found on the sixth floor * * * 
and the sample * * * had the same observable characteristics 
both under the microscope and all the visual tests that I could 


The papers I also found wei^ similar in fiber composition, 
therefore, in addition to the visual characteristics, microscopic 
and UV [ultra violet] characteristics. 

Mr. Cadigan concluded that the paper and tape from the bag were 
identical in all respects to the sample paper and tape taken from the 
Texas School Book Depository shipping room on November 22, 1963.^^^ 

On December 1, 1963, a replica bag was made from materials found 
on that date in the shipping room. This was done as an investiga- 
tory aid since the original bag had been discolored during various 
laboratory examinations and could not be used for valid identification 
by witnesses.^^^ Cadigan found that the paper used to make this 
replica sack had different characteristics from the paper in the origi- 
nal bag.^^ The science of paper analysis enabled him to distinguish 
between different rolls of paper even though they were produced by 
the same manuf acturer.^^^ 

Since the Depository normally used approximately one roll of paper 
every 3 working days,^^® it was not surprising that the replica sack 
made on December 1, 1963, had different characteristics from both 
the actual bag and the sample taken on November 22. On the other 
hand, since two rolls could be made from the same batch of paper, 
one cannot estimate when, prior to November 22, Oswald made the 
paper bag. However, the complete identity of characteristics between 
the paper and tape in the bag foimd on the sixth floor and the paper 
and tape found in the shipping room of the Depository on Novem- 
ber 22 enabled the Commission to conclude that the bag was made 
from these materials. The Depository shipping department was on 
the first floor to which Oswald had access in the normal performance 
of his duties fillmg orders.^^^ 

Fibers in paper hag matched fibers m blamket. — ^When Paul M. 
Stombaugh of the FBI Laboratory examined the paper bag, he found, 
on the inside, a single brown delustered viscose fiber and several light 
green cotton fibers.^®^ The blanket in which the rifle was stored was 
composed of brown and green cotton, viscose and woolen fibers.^^^ 
The single brown viscose fiber found in the bag matched some 
of the brown viscose fibers from the blanket in all observable char- 
acter istics.^^^ The green cotton fibers found in the paper bag matched 
some of the green cotton fibers in the blanket "in all observable micro- 


scopic characteristics." Despite these matches, however, Stom- 
baugh was unable to render *an opinion that the fibers which he found 
in the bag had probably come from the blanket, because other types 
of fibers present in the blanket were not found in the bag. He 
concluded : 

All I would say here is that it is possible that these fibers could 
have come from this blanket, because this blanket is composed 
of brown and green woolen fibers, brown and green delustered 
viscose fibers, and brown and green cotton fibers. * * * We found 
no brown cotton fibers, no green viscose fibers, and no woolen 

So if I found all of these then I would have been able to say 
these fibers probably had come from this blanket. But since I 
found so few, then I would say the possibility exists, these fibers 
could have come from this blanket.^^^ 

Stombaugh confirmed that the rifle could have picked up fibers 
from the blanket and transferred them to the paper bag.^^^ In light 
of the other evidence linking Lee Harvey Oswald, the blanket, and 
the rifle to the paper bag found on the sixth floor, the Commission 
considered Stombaugh's testimony of probative value in deciding 
whether Oswald carried the rifle into the building in the paper bag. 


The preponderance of the evidence supports the conclusion that 
Lee Harvey Oswald (1) told the curtain rod story to Frazier to ex- 
plain both the return to Irving on a Thursday and the obvious bulk 
of the package which he intended to bring to work the next day ; (2) 
took paper and tape from the wrapping bench of the Depository and 
fashioned a bag large enough to carry the disassembled rifle; (3) 
removed the rifle from the blanket in the Paines' garage on Thursday 
evening; (4) carried the rifle into the Depository Building, concealed 
in the bag; and, (5) left the bag alongside the window from which 
the shots were fired. 


Lee Harvey Oswald was hired on October 15, 1963, by the Texas 
School Book Depository as an "order filler." He worked principally 
on the first and sixth floors of the building, gathering books listed on or- 
ders and delivering them to the shipping room on the first floor. He 
had ready access to the sixth flo,or,2°® from the southeast corner window 
of which the shots were fired. The Commission evaluated the 
physical evidence found near the window after the assassination and 
the testimony of eyewitnesses in deciding whether Lee Harvey Oswald 
was present at this window at the time of the assassination. 


730-900 0-64— 11 


Commission Exhibit No. 1301 



Commission Exhibit No. 1302 


Palmprints and Fingerprints on Cartons and Paper Bag 

Below the southeast corner window on the sixth floor was a large 
carton of books measuring approximately 18 by 12 by 14 inches which 
had been moved from a stack along the south wall.^*'^ Atop this carton 
was a small carton marked "Rolling Readers," measuring approxi- 
mately 13 by 9 by 8 inches.^°^ In front of this small carton and resting 
partially on the windowsill was another small "Rolling Readers" car- 
ton.2^^ These two small cartons had been moved from a stack about 
three aisles away.^^^ The boxes in the window appeared to have been 
arranged as a convenient gun rest.^" (See Commission Exhibit No. 
1301, p. 138.) Behind these boxes was another carton placed on 
the floor on which a man sitting could look southwesterly down Elm 
Street over the top of the "Rolling Readers" cartons.^" Next to these 
cartons was the handmade paper bag, previously discussed, on which 
appeared the print of the left index finger and right palm of Lee 
Harvey Oswald.^^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 1302, p. 139.) 

The cartons were forwarded to the FBI in Washington. Sebas- 
tian F. Latona, supervisor of the Latent Fingerprint Section, 
testified that 20 identifiable fingerprints and 8 palmprints were de- 
veloped on these cartons. The carton on the windowsill and the 
large carton below the window contained no prints which could be 
identified as being those of Lee Harvey Oswald.^^® The other "Roll- 
ing Readers" carton, however, contained a palmprint and a fingerprint 
which were identified by Latona as being the left palmprint and right 
index fingerprint of Lee Harvey Oswald.^^^ (See app. X, p. 566.) 

The Commission has considered the possibility that the cartons 
might have been moved in connection with the work that was being 
performed on the sixth floor on November 22. Depository employees 
were laying a new floor at the west end and transferring books from 
the west to the east end of the building.^^® The "Rolling Readers" 
cartons, however, had not been moved by the floor layers and had ap- 
parently been taken to the window^ from their regular position for 
some particular purpose.^^^ The "Rolling Readers" boxes contained, 
instead of books, light blocks used as reading aids.^^^ They could be 
easily adjusted and were still solid enough to serve as a gun rest. 

The box on the floor, behind the three near the window, had been one 
of these moved by the floor layers from the west wall to near the east 
side of the building in preparation for the laying of the floor.^^i Dur- 
ing the afternoon of November 22, Lieutenant Day of the Dallas police 
dusted this carton with powder and developed a palmprint on the top 
edge of the carton on the side nearest the window.222 The position of 
this palmprint on the carton was parallel with the long axis of the box, 
and at right angles with the short axis ; the bottom of the palm rested 
on the box.^^ Someone sitting on the box facing the window would 
have his palm in this position if he placed his hand alongside his 
right hip. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1302, p. 139.) This print 


which had been cut out of the box was also forwarded to the FBI and 
Latona identified it as Oswald's right palmprint.^* In Latona's opin- 
ion "not too long" a time had elapsed between the time that the print 
was placed on the carton and the time that it had been developed by 
the Dallas police.^^^ Although Bureau experiments had shown that 
24 hours was a likely maximum time, Latona stated that he could only 
testify with certainty that the print was less than 3 days old.^^^ 

The print, therefore, could have been placed on the carton at any 
time within this period. The freshness of this print could be esti- 
mated only because the Dallas police developed it through the use of 
powder. Since cartons absorb perspiration, powder can success- 
fully develop a print on such material only within a limited time. 
When the FBI in Washington received the cartons, the remaining 
prints, including Oswald's on the Kolling Keaders carton, were de- 
veloped by chemical processes. The freshness of prints developed in 
this manner cannot be estimated, so no conclusions can be drawn 
as to whether these remaining prints preceded or followed the print 
developed in Dallas by powder. Most of the prints were found to 
have been placed on the cartons by an FBI clerk and a Dallas police 
officer after the cartons had been processed with powder by the Dal- 
las Police.229 (See ch. VI, p. 249; app. X, p. 566.) 

In his independent investigation, Arthur Mandella of the New York 
City Police Department reached the same conclusion as Latona that the 
prints found on the cartons were those of Lee Harvey Oswald.^^^ In 
addition, Mandella was of the opinion that the print taken from the 
carton on the floor was probably made within a day or a day and a half 
of the examination on November 22. Moreover, another expert with 
the FBI, Eonald G. Wittmus, conducted a separate examination and 
also agreed with Latona that the prints were Oswald's.^^^ 

In evaluating the significance of these fingerprint and palmprint 
identifications, the Commission considered the possibility that Oswald 
handled these cartons as part of his normal duties. Since other 
identifiable prints were developed on the cartons, the Commission 
requested that they be compared with the prints of the 12 warehouse 
employees who, like Oswald, might have handled the cartons. They 
were also compared with the prints of those law enforcement officials 
who might have handled the cartons. The results of this investigation 
are fully discussed in chapter VI, page 249. Although a person could 
handle a carton and not leave identifiable prints, none of these em- 
ployees except Oswald left identifiable prints on the cartons.^^^ This 
finding, in addition to the freshness of one of the prints and the pres- 
ence of Oswald's prints on two of the four cartons and the paper bag 
led the Commission to attach some probative value to the fingerprint 
and palmprint identifications in reaching the conclusion that Oswald 
was at the window from which the shots were fired, although the 
prints do not establish the exact time he was there. 




Commission Exhibit No. 2707 


Oswald's Presence on Sixth Floor Approximately 35 Minutes Before 

the Assassination 

Additional testimony linking Oswald with the point from which 
the shots were fired was provided by the testimony of Charles Givens, 
who was the last known employee to see Oswald inside the building 
prior to the assassination. During the morning of November 22, 
Givens was working with the floor-laying crew in the southwest 
section of the sixth floor.^^ At about 11 :45 a.m. the floor-laying 
crew used both elevators to come down from the sixth floor. The em- 
ployees raced the elevators to the first floor.^^* Givens saw Oswald 
standing at the gate on the fifth floor as the elevator went by.^^® 
Givens testified that after reaching the first floor, "I discovered I left 
my cigarettes in my jacket pocket upstairs, and I took the elevator 
back upstairs to get my jacket with my cigarettes in it." He saw 
Oswald, a clipboard in hand, walking from the southeast corner of 
the sixth floor toward the elevator .^^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 
2707, p. 142.) Givens said to Oswald, "Boy are you going down- 
stairs? * * * It's near lunch time." Oswald said, "No, sir. When 
you get downstairs, close the gate to the elevator." Oswald was 
referring to the west elevator which operates by pushbutton and only 
with the gate closed.^^® Givens said, "Okay," and rode down in the 
east elevator. Wlien he reached the first floor, the Avest elevator — 
the one with the gate — was not there. Givens thought this was about 
11 :55 a.m.2^° None of the Depository employees is known to have seen 
Oswald again until after the shooting.^^^ 

The significance of Givens' observation that Oswald was carrying 
his clipboard became apparent on December 2, 1963, when an em- 
ployee, Frankie Kaiser, found a clipboard hidden by book cartons 
in the northwest corner of the sixth floor at the west wall a few feet 
from where the rifle had been found.^^^ This clipboard had been 
made by Kaiser and had his name on it.^*^ Kaiser identified it as 
the clipboard which Oswald had appropriated from him when 
Oswald came to work at the Depository.^** Three invoices on this 
clipboard, each dated November 22, were for Scott-Foresman books, 
located on the first and sixth floors.^*^ Oswald had not filled any of 
the three orders.^*^ 

Eyewitness Identification of Assassin 

Howard L. Brennan was an eyewitness to the shooting. As indi- 
cated previously the Commission considered his testimony as pro- 
bative in reaching the conclusion that the shots came from the sixth 
floor, southeast corner window of the Depository Building.^*^ (See 
ch. Ill, pp. 61-68.) Brennan also testified that Lee Harvey Oswald, 
whom he viewed in a police lineup on the night of the assassination, 
was the man he saw fire the shots from the sixth- floor window of the 
Depository Building.-*® When the shots were fired, Brennan was in 
an excellent position to observe anyone in the window. He was sitting 


on a concrete wall on the southwest corner of Elm and Houston Streets, 
looking north at the Depository Building which was directly in front 
of him.^*^ The window Avas approximately 120 feet away.^^° (See 
Commission Exhibit No. 477, p. 62.) 

In the 6- to 8-minute period before the motorcade arrived,-^^ Bren- 
nan saAv a man leave and return to the window "a couple of times." 
After hearing the first shot, which he thought Avas a motorcycle back- 
fire, Brennan glanced up at the Avindow. He testified that "this man 
I saAv previously Avas aiming for his last shot * * as it appeared to 
me he Avas standing up and resting against the left Avindow sill * * 

Brennan saAv the man fire the last shot and disappear from the Avin- 
dow. Within minutes of the assassination, Brennan described the man 
to the police.2^* This description most probably led to the radio 
alert sent to police cars at approximately 12 :45 p.m., AA^hich described 
the suspect as Av^hite, slender, AA^eighing about 165 pounds, about 5'10" 
tall, and in his early thirties.^^^ In his SAvorn statement to the police 
later that day, Brennan described the man in similar terms, except 
that he gave the Aveight as betAveen 165 and 175 pounds and the height 
was omitted. In his testimony before the Commission, Brennan 
described the person he saw as "* * * a man in his early thirties, 
fair complexion, slender, but neat, neat slender, possible 5 foot 10 * * * 
160 to 170 pounds." OsAvald Avas 5'9", slender and 24 years old. 
AVlien arrested, he gave his Aveight as 140 pounds. On other occa- 
sions he gave Aveights of both 140 and 150 pounds.^^^ The New Or- 
leans police records of his arrest in August of 1963 shoAv a weight of 
136 pounds.^^° The autopsy report indicated an estimated Aveight 
of 150 pounds. 

Brennan's description should also be compared with the eyeAvitness 
description broadcast oA^er the Dallas police radio at 1 :22 p.m. of 
the man who shot Patrolman J. D. Tippit. The suspect Avas described 
as "a Avhite male about 30, 5'8", black hair, slender. * * *" At 1:29 
p.m. the police radio reported that the description of the suspect in 
the Tippit shooting Avas similar to the description AA^hich had been 
given by Brennan in connection Avith the assassination.^^^ Approxi- 
mately 7 or 8 minutes later the police radio reported that "an eyeball 
Avitness" described the suspect in the Tippit shooting as "a Avhite 
male, 27, 5'11", 165 pounds, black Avavy hair." As Avill be discussed 
fully beloAv, the Commission has concluded that this suspect Avas Lee 
Harvey OsAvald. 

Although Brennan testified that the man in the window Avas stand- 
ing when he fired the shots,^^ most probably he Avas either sitting or 
kneeling. The half-open windoAv,^^® the arrangement of the boxes,^^' 
and the angle of the shots virtually preclude a standing position.^^* 
It is understandable, hoAvever, for Brennan to have belieA^ed that the 
man with the rifle Avas standing. A photograph of the building taken 
seconds after the assassination shoAvs three employees looking out of 
the fifth-floor AvindoAv directly beloAv the AvindoAv from Avhich the 
shots Avere fired. Brennan testified that they Avere standing,^^ which 
is their apparent position in the photograph.^^^ (See Dillard Ex- 


hibits Nos. C and D, pp. 66-67.) But the testimony of these em- 
ployees,^''^ together with photographs subsequently taken of them at 
the scene of the assassination,^^^ establishes that they were either squat- 
ting or kneeling. (See Commission Exhibit No. 485, p. 69.) Since 
the window ledges in the Depository Building are lower than in most 
buildings,^^^ a person squatting or kneeling exposes more of his body 
than would normally be the case. From the street, this creates the 
impression that the person is standing. Brennan could have seen 
enough of the body of a kneeling or squatting person to estimate his 

Shortly after the assassination Brennan noticed two of these em- 
ployees leaving the building and immediately identified them as having 
been in the fifth-floor windows.^^* When the three employees ap- 
peared before the Commission, Brennan identified the two whom he 
saw leave the building.^^^ The two men, Harold Norman and James 
Jarman, Jr., each confirmed that when they came out of the building, 
they saw and heard Brennan describing what he had seen.^^^ Nor- 
man stated, * * I remember him talking and I believe I remember 
seeing him saying that he saw us when we first went up to the fifth- 
floor window, he saw us then." Jarman heard Brennan "talking 
to this officer about that he had heard these shots and he had seen 
the barrel of the gun sticking out the window, and he said that the 
shots came from inside the building." 

During the evening of November 22, Brennan identified Oswald 
as the person in the lineup who bore the closest resemblance to the man 
in the window but he said he was unable to make a positive identifica- 
tion.^^^ Prior to the lineup, Brennan had seen Oswald's picture on 
television and he told the Commission that whether this affected his 
identification "is something I do not know." In an interview with 
FBI agents on December 17, 1963, Brennan stated that he was sure 
that the person firing the rifle was Oswald.^^^ In another interview 
with FBI agents on January 7, 1964, Brennan appeared to revert to 
his earlier inability to make a positive identification,^*^ but, in his testi- 
mony before the Commission, Brennan stated that his remarks of 
J anuary 7 were intended by him merely as an accurate report of what 
he said on November 22.^*^ 

Brennan told the Commission that he could have made a positive 
identification in the lineup on November 22 but did not do so because he 
felt that the assassination was "a Communist activity, and I felt like 
there hadn't been more than one eyewitness, and if it got to be a known 
fact that I was an eyewitness, my family or I, either one, might not be 
safe." When specifically asked before the Commission whether or 
not he could positively identify the man he saw in the sixth-floor 
window as the same man he saw in the police station, Brennan stated, 
"I could at that time — I could, with all sincerity, identify him as 
being the same man." 

Although the record indicates that Brennan was an accurate ob- 
server, he declined to make a positive identification of Oswald when 
he first saw him in the police lineup.^*^ The Commission, therefore, 


does not base its conclusion concerning the identity of the assassin on 
Brennan's subsequent certain identification of Lee Harvey Oswald 
as the man he saw fire the rifle. Immediately after the assassination, 
however, Brennan described to the police the man he saw in the 
window and then identified Oswald as the person who most nearly 
resembled the man he saw. The Commission is satisfied that, at the 
least, Brennan saw a man in the window who closely resembled Lee 
Harvey Oswald, and that Brennan believes the man he saw was in 
fact Lee Harvey Oswald. 

Two other witnesses were able to offer partial descriptions of a man 
they saw in the southeast corner window of the sixth floor approxi- 
mately 1 minute before the assassination, although neither witness saw 
the shots being fired.^^^ Ronald Fischer and Robert Edwards were 
standing on the curb at the southwest comer of Elm and Houston 
Streets,^®® the same corner where Brennan was sitting on a concrete 
wall.^^ Fischer testified that about 10 or 15 seconds before the motor- 
cade turned onto Houston Street from Main Street, Edwards said, 
"Look at that guy there in that window." 

Fischer looked up and watched the man in the window for 10 or 
15 seconds and then started watching the motorcade, which came into 
view on Houston Street.^^^ He said that the man held his attention 
until the motorcade came because the man : 

* * * appeared uncomfortable for one, and secondly, he wasn't 
watching * * * he didn't look like he was watching for the 
parade. He looked like he was looking down toward the Trinity 
River and the Triple Underpass down at the end — ^toward the 
end of Elm Street. And * * * all the time I watched him, he 
never moved his head, he never — he never moved anything. J ust 
was there transfixed. 

Fischer placed the man in the easternmost window on the south 
side of the Depository Building on either the fifth or the sixth floor .^^^ 
He said that he could see the man from the middle of his chest to the 
top of his head, and that as he was facing the window the man was in 
the lower right-hand portion of the window and "seemed to be sitting 
a little forward." The man was dressed in a light-colored, open- 
neck shirt which could have been either a sports shirt or a T-shirt, and 
he had brown hair, a slender face and neck with light complexion, and 
looked to be 22 or 24 years old.^®^ The person in the window was a 
white man and "looked to me like he was looking straight at the Triple 
Underpass" down Elm Street.^^^ Boxes and cases were stacked be- 
hind him.297 

Approximately 1 week after the assassination, according to Fischer, 
policemen showed him a picture of Oswald.^^^ In his testimony he 
said, "I told them that that could have been the man. * * * That 
that could have been the man that I saw in the window in the School 
Book Depository Building, but that I was not sure." Fischer 
described the man's hair as some shade of brown — "it wasn't dark 


and it wasn't light." On November 22, Fischer had apparently 
described the man as "light-headed." Fischer explained that he did 
not mean by the earlier statement that the man was blond, but rather 
that his hair was not black.^^^ 

Robert Edwards said that, while looking at the south side of the 
Depository Building shortly before the motorcade, he saw nothing of 
importance "except maybe one individual who was up there in the 
corner room of the sixth floor which was crowded in among boxes." 
He said that this was a white man about average in size, "possibly 
thin," and that he thought the man had light-brown hair.^°* Fischer 
and Edwards did not see the man clearly enough or long enough to 
identify him. Their testimony is of probative value, however, because 
their limited description is consistent with that of the man who has 
been found by the Commission, based on other evidence, to have fired 
the shots from the window. 

Another person who saw the assassin as the shots were fired was 
Amos L. Euins, age 15, who was one of the first witnesses to alert the 
police to the Depository as the source of the shots, as has been dis- 
cussed in chapter 111.^°^ Euins, who was on the southwest corner of 
Elm and Houston Streets,^*^® testified that he could not describe the man 
he saw in the window. According to Euins, however, as the man low- 
ered his head in order to aim the rifle down Elm Street, he appeared 
to have a white bald spot on his head.^^"^ Shortly after the assassina- 
tion, Euins signed an affidavit describing the man as "white," but 
a radio reporter testified that Euins described the man to him as 
"colored." In his Commission testimony, Euins stated that he 
could not ascertain the man's race and that the statement in the affi- 
davit was intended to refer only to the white spot on the man's head 
and not to his race.^^^ A Secret Service agent who spoke to Euins 
approximately 20 to 30 minutes after the assassination confirmed that 
Euins could neither describe the man in the window nor indicate his 
race.^^^ Accordingly, Euins' testimony is considered probative as to 
the source of the shots but is inconclusive as to the identity of the 
man in the window. 

In evaluating the evidence that Oswald was at the southeast corner 
window of the sixth floor at the time of the shooting, the Commission 
has considered the allegation that Oswald was photographed standing 
in front of the building when the shots were fired. The picture 
which gave rise to these allegations was taken by Associated Press 
Photographer James W. Altgens, who was standing on the south side 
of Ehn Street between the Triple Underpass and the Depository 
Building.^^2 As the motorcade started its descent down Elm Street, 
Altgens snapped a picture of the Presidential limousine with the 
entrance to the Depository Building in the background.^^^ Just before 
snapping the picture Altgens heard a noise which sounded like the 
popping of a firecracker. Investigation has established that Altgens' 
picture was taken approximately 2 seconds after the firing of the shot 
which entered the back of the President's neck.^^* 


In the background of this picture were several employees watching 
the parade from the steps of the Depository Building. One of these 
employees was alleged to resemble Lee Harvey Oswald.^^^ The Com- 
mission has determined that the employee was in fact Billy Nolan 
Lovelady, who identified himself in the picture.^^® Standing along- 
side him were Buell Wesley Frazier and William Shelley who 
also identified Lovelady. The Commission is satisfied that Oswald 
does not appear in this photograph. (See Commission Exhibit No. 
900, p. 113.) 

Oswald's Actions in Building After Assassination 

In considering whether Oswald was at the southeast corner window 
at the time the shots were fired, the Commission has reviewed the testi- 
mony of witnesses who saw Oswald in the building within minutes 
after the assassination. The Commission has found that Oswald's 
movements, as described by these witnesses, are consistent with his 
having been at the window at 12 :30 p.m. 

The encounter in the lunchroom. — The first person to see Oswald 
after the assassination was Patrolman M. L. Baker of the Dallas 
Police Department. Baker was riding a two-wheeled motorcycle 
behind the last press car of the motorcade.^^® As he turned the corner 
from Main onto Houston at a speed of about 5 to 10 miles per hour,^^^ 
a strong wind blowing from the north almost unseated him.^^^ At 
about this time he heard the first shot.^^^ Having recently heard the 
sounds of rifles while on a hunting trip, Baker recognized the shots as 
that of a high-powered rifle ; "it sounded high and I immediately kind 
of looked up, and I had a feeling that it came from the building, either 
right in front of me [the Depository Building] or of the one across to 
the right of it." He saw pigeons flutter upward. He was not cer- 
tain, "but I am pretty sure they came from the building right on the 
northwest comer." He heard two more shots spaced "pretty well 
even to me." After the third shot, he "revved that motorcycle up," 
drove to the northwest corner of Elm and Houston, and parked 
approximately 10 feet from the traffic signal.^^® As he was parking 
he noted that people were "falling, and they were rolling around down 
there * * * grabbing their children" and rushing about.^^^ A woman 
screamed, "Oh, they have shot that man, they have shot that man." 
Baker "had it in mind that the shots came from the top of this building 
here," so he ran straight to the entrance of the Depository Building.^^'^ 

Baker testified that he entered the lobby of the building and "spoke 
out and asked where the stairs or elevator was * * * and this man, 
Mr. Truly, spoke up and says, it seems to me like he says, 'I am a 
building manager. Follow me, officer, and I will show you.' " 
Baker and building superintendent Roy Truly went through a second 
set of doors and stopped at a swinging door where Baker bumped 
into Truly's back.^^^ xhey went through the swinging door and con- 
tinued at "a good trot" to the northwest corner of the floor where Truly 
hoped to find one of the two freight elevators. (See Commission 



Exhibit No. 1061, p. 148.) Neither elevator was there.^^ Truly 
pushed the button for the west elevator which operates automatically 
if the gate is closecL^^^ He shouted twice, "Turn loose the elevator." 
Wlien the elevator failed to come. Baker said, "let's take the stairs," 
and he followed Truly up the stairway, which is to the west of the 

The stairway is located in the northwest corner of the Depository 
Building. The stairs from one floor to the next are "L-shaped," with 
both legs of the "L" approximately the same length. Because the 
stairway itself is enclosed, neither Baker nor Truly could see anything 
on the second-floor hallway until they reached the landing at the top 
of the stairs.^^" On the second-floor landing there is a small open 
area with a door at the east end. This door leads into a small vestibule, 
and another door leads from the vestibule into the second-floor lunch- 
room.^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 1118, p. 150.) The lunchroom 
door is usually open, but the first door is kept shut by a closing mecha- 
nism on the door.^^^ This vestibule door is solid except for a small glass 
window in the upper part of the door.^^^ As Baker reached the second 
floor, he was about 20 feet from the vestibule door.^*^ He intended 
to continue aromid to his left toward the stairway going up but 
through the window in the door he caught a fleetmg glimpse of a man 
walking in the vestibule toward the lunchroom.^*^ 

Since the vestibule door is only a few feet from the lunchroom 
door,^*^ the man must have entered the vestibule only a second or two 
before Baker arrived at the top of the stairwell. Yet he must have 
entered the vestibule door before Truly reached the top of the stair- 
well, since Truly did not see him.^** If the man had passed from the 
vestibule into the lunchroom. Baker could not have seen him. Baker 

He [Truly] had already started around the bend to come to the 
next elevator going up, I was coming out this one on the second 
floor, and I don't know, I was kind of sweeping this area as I 
come up, I was looking from right to left and as I got to this door 
here I caught a glimpse of this man, just, you know, a sudden 
glimpse * * * and it looked to me like he was going away from 
me. * * * 

I can't say whether he had gone on through that door [the 
lunchroom door] or not. All I did was catch a glance at him, 
and evidently he was — this door might have been, you know, 
closing and almost shut at that time. 

With his revolver drawn. Baker opened the vestibule door and ran 
into the vestibule. He saw a man walking away from him in the 
Imichroom. Baker stopped at the door of the lunchroom and com- 
manded, "Come here." The man turned and walked back toward 
Baker.^^^ He had been proceeding toward the rear of the lunch- 
room.^^^ Along a side wall of the lunchroom was a soft drink vending 
machine,^^^ but at that time the man had nothing in his hands.^^° 


Meanwhile, Truly had run up several steps toward the third floor. 
Missing Baker, he came back to find the officer in the doorway to the 
lunchroom "facing Lee Harvey Oswald.'*' Baker turned to Truly 
and said, "Do you know this man, does he work here?"^^^ Truly 
replied, "Yes." Baker stated later that the man did not seem to be 
out of breath ; he seemed calm. "He never did say a word or nothing. 
In fact, he didn't change his expression one bit." Truly said of 
Oswald : "He didn't seem to be excited or overly afraid or anything. 
He might have been a bit startled, like I might have been if somebody 
confronted me. But I cannot recall any change in expression of any 
kind on his f ace." Truly thought that the officer's gun at that 
time appeared to be almost touching the middle portion of Oswald's 
body. Truly also noted at this time that Oswald's hands were 

In an effort to determine whether Oswald could have descended 
to the lunchroom from the sixth floor by the time Baker and Truly 
arrived. Commission counsel asked Baker and Truly to repeat their 
movements from the time of the shot until Baker came upon Oswald 
in the lunchroom. Baker placed himself on a motorcycle about 200 feet 
from the corner of Elm and Houston Streets where he said he heard the 
shots.^^^ Truly stood in front of the building.^^^ At a given signal, 
they reenacted the event. Baker's movements were timed with a 
stopwatch. On the first test, the elapsed time between the simulated 
first shot and Baker's arrival on the second-floor stair landing was 
1 minute and 30 seconds. The second test run required 1 minute and 
15 seconds.^^^ 

A test Avas also conducted to determine the time required to walk 
from the southeast corner of the sixth floor to the second-floor lunch- 
room by stairway. Special Agent John Howlett of the Secret Service 
carried a rifle from the southeast corner of the sixth floor along the east 
aisle to the northeast corner. He placed the rifle on the floor near the 
site where Oswald's rifle was actually found after the shooting. 
Then Howlett walked down the stairway to the second-floor landing 
and entered the lunchroom. The first test, run at normal walking pace, 
required 1 minute, 18 seconds ; the second test, at a "fast walk" took 
1 minute, 14 seconds.^*^^ The second test followed immediately after the 
first. The only interval was the time necessary to ride in the elevator 
from the second to the sixth floor and walk back to the southeast corner. 
Howlett was not short winded at the end of either test run.^^^ 

The minimum time required by Baker to park his motorcycle and 
reach the second-floor lunchroom Avas within 3 seconds of the time 
needed to walk from the southeast corner of the sixth floor down the 
stairway to the lunchroom. The time actually required for Baker 
and Truly to reach the second floor on November 22 was probably 
longer than in the test runs. For example, Baker required 15 seconds 
after the simulated sliot to ride his motorcycle 180 to 200 feet, park it, 
and run 45 feet to the building.^^^ No allowance Avas made for the 
special conditions Avhich existed on the day of the assassination — pos- 
sible delayed reaction to the shot, jostling Avith the croAvd of people on 


the steps and scanning the area along Ehn Street and the parkway. 
Baker said, "AVe simulated the shots and by the time we got there, we 
did everything that I did that day, and this would be the minimum, 
because I am sure that I, you know, it took me a little longer." On 
the basis of this time test, therefore, the Commission concluded that 
Oswald could have fired the shots and still have been present in the 
second-floor lunchroom when seen by Baker and Truly. 

That Oswald descended by stairway from the sixth floor to the sec- 
ond-floor lunchroom is consistent with the movements of the two eleva- 
tors, Avhich would have provided the other possible means of descent. 
Wlien Truly, accompanied by Baker, ran to the rear of the first floor, 
he was certain that both elevators, which occupy the same shaft,^^® were 
on the fifth floor.^^^ Baker, not realizing that there were two ele- 
vators, thought that only one elevator was in the shaft and that it was 
two or three floors above the second floor.^^^ In the fcAv seconds which 
elapsed while Baker and Truly ran from the first to the second floor, 
neither of these slow elevators could have descended from the fifth to 
the second floor. Furthermore, no elevator was at the second floor 
when they arrived there.^^*^ Truly and Baker continued up the stairs 
after the encounter with Oswald in the lunchroom. There was no 
elevator on the third or fourth floor. The east elevator was on the fifth 
floor when they arrived ; the Avest elevator Avas not. They took the east 
elevator to the seA^enth floor and ran up a stairAvay to the roof Avhere 
they searched for several minutes.^^^ 

Jack Dougherty, an employee Avorking on the fifth floor, testified 
that he took the Avest elevator to the first floor after hearing a noise 
Avhich sounded like a backfire.^^^ Eddie Piper, the janitor, told 
Dougherty that the President had been shot,^^^ but in his testimony 
Piper did not mention either seeing or talking with Dougherty during 
these moments of excitement.^^^ Both Dougherty and Piper Avere 
confused witnesses. They had no exact memory of the events of that 
afternoon. Truly Avas probably correct in stating that the Avest 
elevator was on the fifth floor Avhen he looked up the elevator shaft 
from the first floor. The Avest elevator Avas not on the fifth floor Avhen 
Baker and Truly reached that floor, probably because Jack Dougherty 
took it to the first floor Avhile Baker and Truly Avere running up the 
stairs or in the lunchroom Avith OsAvald. Neither elevator could have 
been used by OsAA ald as a means of descent. 

Oswald's use of the stairAvay is consistent Avith the testimony of 
other employees in the building. Three employees — James Jarman, 
Jr., Harold Norman, and Bonnie Ray Williams. — Avere Avatching the 
parade from the fifth floor, directly beloAv the AvindoAv from Avhich the 
shots were fired. They rushed to the Avest Avindows after the shots 
were fired and remained there until after they saAv Patrolman Baker's 
Avhite helmet on the fifth floor moving toAvard the elevator.^^* While 
they Avere at the west AvindoAvs their vieAv of the stairAvell Avas com- 
pletely blocked by shelves and boxes.^^^ This is the period during 
which OsAvald Avould have descended the stairs. In all likelihood 
Dougherty took the elevator doAvn from the fifth floor after Jarman, 


730-900 0-64— 12 

Norman, and Williams ran to the west windows and were deciding 
what to do. None of these three men saw Dougherty, probably be- 
cause of the anxiety of the moment and because of the books which 
may have blocked the view.^^*^ Neither Jarman, Norman, Williams, 
or Dougherty saw Oswald. 

Victoria Adams, who worked on the fourth floor of the Depository 
Building, claimed that within about 1 minute following the shots she 
ran from a window on the south side of the fourth floor,^^^ down the 
rear stairs to the first floor, where she encountered two Depository 
employees — William Shelley and Billy Lovelady.^^^ If her estimate 
of time is correct, she reached the bottom of the stairs before Truly 
and Baker started up, and she must have run down the stairs ahead 
of Oswald and would probably have seen or heard him. Actually she 
noticed no one on the back stairs. If she descended from the fourth 
to the first floor as fast as she claimed in her testinxony, she would have 
seen Baker or Truly on the first floor or on the stairs, unless they were 
already in the second-floor lunchroom talking to Oswald. When she 
reached the first floor, she actually saw Shelley and Lovelady slightly 
east of the east elevator. 

Shelley and Lovelady, however, have testified that they were watch- 
ing the parade from the top step of the building entrance when Gloria 
Calverly, who works in the Depository Building, ran up and said that 
the President had been shot.^^° Lovelady and Shelley moved out 
into the street.^®^ About this time Shelley saw Truly and Patrolman 
Baker go into the building.^^^ Shelley and Lovelady, at a fast walk or 
trot, turned west into the railroad yards and then to the west side of 
the Depository Building. They reentered the building by the rear door 
several minutes after Baker and Truly rushed through the front 
entrance.^*^ On entering, Lovelady saw a girl on the first floor who 
he believes was Victoria Adams.^^* If Miss Adams accurately recalled 
meeting Shelley and Lovelady Avhen she reached the bottom of the 
stairs, then her estimate of the time when she descended from the 
fourth floor is incorrect, and she actually came down the stairs several 
minutes after Oswald and after Truly and Baker as well. 

Oswald^s departure from huilding, — ^Within a minute after Baker 
and Truly left Oswald in the lunchroom, Mrs. K. A. Reid, clerical 
supervisor for the Texas School Book Depository, saw him walk 
through the clerical office on the second floor toward the door leading 
to the front stairway. Mrs. Reid had watched the parade from the 
sidewalk in front of the building with Truly and Mr. O. V. Campbell, 
vice president of the Depository .^^^ She testified that she heard three 
shots which she thought came from the building.^®^ She ran inside 
and up the front stairs into the large open office reserved for clerical 
employees. As she approached her desk, she saw Oswald.^^^ He 
was walking into the office from the back hallway, carrying a full 
bottle of Coca-Cola in his hand,^^^ presumably purchased after the 
encounter with Baker and Truly. As Oswald passed Mrs. Reid 
she said, "Oh, the President has been shot, but maybe they didn't hit 
him." Oswald mumbled something and walked by.^^° She paid 


no more attention to him. The only exit from the office in the direction 
Oswald was moving was through the door to the front stairway.^^^ 
(See Commission Exhibit 1118, p. 150.) Mrs. Reid testified that 
when she saw Oswald, he was wearing a T-shirt and no jacket.^^^ 
When he left home that morning, Marina Oswald, who was still in 
bed, suggested that he wear a jacket.^^^ A blue jacket, later identified 
by Marina Oswald as her husband's,^^* was subsequently found in 
the building,^^^ apparently left behind by Oswald. 

Mrs. Reid believes that she returned to her desk from the street 
about 2 minutes after the shooting.^^^ Reconstructing her movements, 
Mrs. Reid ran the distance three times and was timed in 2 minutes by 
stopwatch. The reconstruction w^as the minimum time.^®^ Accord- 
ingly, she probably met Oswald at about 12 :32, approximately 30-45 
seconds after Oswald's lunchroom encounter with Baker and Truly. 
After leaving Mrs. Reid in the front office, Oswald could have gone 
down the stairs and out the front door by 12:33 p.m.^^^ — 3 minutes 
after the shooting. At that time the building had not yet been sealed 
off by the police. 

While it was difficult to determine exactly when the police sealed 
off the building, the earliest estimates would still have permitted 
Oswald to leave the building by 12 :33. One of the police officers as- 
signed to the corner of Elm and Houston Streets for the Presidential 
motorcade, W. E. Barnett, testified that immediately after the shots 
he went to the rear of the building to check the fire escape. He then 
returned to the corner of Elm and Houston where he met a sergeant 
who instructed him to find out the name of the building. Barnett ran 
to the building, noted its name, and then returned to the corner.*°° 
There he was met by a construction worker — in all likelihood Howard 
Brennan, w^ho was wearing his work he]met.^°^ This worker told 
Barnett that the shots had been fired from a window in the Depository 
Building, whereupon Barnett posted himself at the front door to make 
certain that no one left the building. The sergeant did the same 
thing at the rear of the building.^^^ Barnett estimated that approxi- 
mately 3 minutes elapsed between the time he heard the last of the 
shots and the time he started guarding the front door. According 
to Barnett, "there were people going in and out" during this period.*^^ 

Sgt. D. Y. Harkness of the Dallas police said that to his knowledge 
the building was not sealed off at 12:36 p.m. when he called in on 
police radio that a witness (Amos Euins) had seen shots fired from 
a window of the building.*^* At that time. Inspector Herbert V. 
Sawyer's car was parked in front of the building.*°^ Harkness did 
not know whether or not two officers with Sawyer were guarding the 
doors.*°® At 12:34 p.m. Sawyer heard a call over the police radio 
that the shots had come from the Depository Building.^°^ He then 
entered the building and took the front passenger elevator as far 
as it would go — the fourth floor.'^^^ After inspecting this floor, Sawyer 
returned to the street about 3 minutes after he entered the building.*^^ 
After he returned to the street he directed Sergeant Harkness to sta- 
tion two patrolmen at the front door and not let anyone in or out; 


he also directed that the back door be sealed off.^^'' This was no 
earlier than 12 :37 p.m.*^^ and may have been later. Special Agent 
Forrest V. Sorrels of the Secret Service, who had been in the motor- 
cade, testified that after drivino- to Parkland Hospital, he returned 
to the Depository Building about 20 minutes after the shooting, found 
no police officers at the rear door and was able to enter through this 
door without identifying himself .^^^ 

Although Oswald probably left the building at about 12 :33 p.m., 
his absence was not noticed until at least one-half hour later. Truly, 
who had returned with Patrolman Baker from the roof, saw the 
police questioning the warehouse employees. Approximately 15 men 
worked in the warehouse and Truly noticed that Oswald was not 
among those being questioned.*^* Satisfying himself that Oswald was 
missing, Truly obtained Oswald's address, phone number, and de- 
scription from his employment application card. The address listed 
was for the Paine home in Irving. Truly gave this information to 
Captain Fritz who was on the sixth floor at the time.*^^ Truly esti- 
mated that he gave this information to Fritz about 15 or 20 minutes 
after the shots,*^^ but it was probably no earlier than 1 :22 p.m., the 
time when the rifle was fomid. Fritz believed that he learned of 
Oswald's absence after the rifle was found.*^^ The fact that Truly 
found Fritz in the northwest corner of the floor, near the point where 
the rifle was found, supports Fritz' recollection. 


Fingerprint and palmprint evidence establishes that Oswald handled 
two of the four cartons next to the window and also liandled a paper 
bag which Avas found near the cartons. Oswald was seen in the vicinity 
of the southeast corner of the sixth floor approximately 35 minutes be- 
fore the assassination and no one could be found who saw Oswald any- 
where else in the building until after the shooting. An eyewitness to 
the shooting inmiediately provided a description of the man in the win- 
dow which was similar to Oswald's actual appearance. This witness 
identified Oswald in a lineup as the man most nearly resembling the 
man he saw and later identified Oswald as the man he observed. Os- 
wald's known actions in the building immediately after the assassina- 
tion are consistent with his having been at the southeast corner window 
of the sixth floor at 12 :30 p.m. On the basis of these fiiidrngs the Com- 
mission has concluded that Oswald, at the time of the assassination, 
was present at the window from which the shots were fired. 


After leaving the Depository Building at approximately 12 :33 p.m., 
Lee Harvey Oswald proceeded to his roominghouse by bus and taxi." 
He arrived at approximately 1 p.m. and left a few minutes later. At 


about 1 :16 p.m., a Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit, was shot less 
than 1 mile from Oswald's roominghoiise. In deciding whether 
Oswald killed Patrolman Tippit the Commission considered the fol- 
lowing: (1) positive identification of the killer by two eyewitnesses 
who saw the shooting and seven eyewitnesses w^ho heard the shots 
and saw the gimman flee the scene with the revolver in his hand, (2) 
testimony of firearms identification experts establishing the identity 
of the murder weapon, (3) evidence establishing the ownership of 
the murder weapon, (4) evidence establishing the ownership of a 
zipper jacket found along the path of flight taken by the gunman 
from the scene of the shooting to the place of arrest. 

Oswald's Movements After Leaving Depository Building 

The bus ride. — According to the reconstruction of time and events 
which the Commission found most credible, Lee Harvey Oswald left 
the building approximately 3 minutes after the assassination. He 
probably walked east on Elm Street for seven blocks to the corner 
of Elm and Murphy where he boarded a bus which was heading back 
in the direction of the Depository Building, on its way to the Oak 
Cliff section of Dallas. (See Commission Exhibit 1119-A, p. 158.) 

When Oswald was apprehended, a bus transfer marked for the 
Lakewood-Marsalis route was found in his shirt pocket.*^^ The trans- 
fer was dated "Fri. Nov. 22, '63" and was punched in two places by 
the busdriver. On the basis of this punchmark, which was distinctive 
to each Dallas driver, the transfer was conclusively identified as 
having been issued by Cecil J. McWatters, a busdriver for the Dallas 
Transit Co.^^^ On the basis of the date and time on the transfer, 
McWatters was able to testify that the transfer had been issued by 
him on a trip which passed a check point at St. Paul and Elm Streets 
at 12 :36 p.m., November 22, 1963.^2o 

McWatters was sure that he left the checkpoint on time and he 
estimated that it took him 3 to 4 minutes to drive three blocks west 
from the checkpoint to Field Street, which he reached at about 12 :40 
p.m.^2^ McWatters' recollection is that he issued this transfer to a 
man who entered his bus just beyond Field Street, where a man beat 
on the front door of the bus, boarded it and paid his fare.^^^ About 
two blocks later, a woman asked to get off to make a 1 o'clock train 
at Union Station and requested a transfer which she might use if she 
got through the traffic. 

* * * So I gave her a transfer and opened the door and she was 
going out the gentleman I had picked up about two blocks [back] 
asked for a transfer and got off at the same place in the middle 
of the block where the lady did. 

* * * It was the intersection near Lamar Street, it was near 
Poydras and Lamar Street. 



12:33 P.M. and 1:50 P.M. 
November 22, 1963 



1026 North Beckley Ave. 
arrive 1:00 
leave 1:03 


Leave front entrance 

Elm St. and Murphy St. 

Commerce St. 
and Lamar St. 


Known routes 

Assumed routes 

Motorcade route 


TSBD TO "ON bus:: _..„0.40 Ml. 

"ON BUS" TO "OFF BUSV. 15 Ml. 

"OFF BUS" TO "IN CAB" _ 0.20 Ml. 

"IN CAB" TO "OUT OF CAB" -2.40 Ml. 






10th St. and Patton Ave. 

231 West Jefferson Blvd. 
arrive 1:40 
apprehended 1:50 


Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A 

Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A 


The man was on the bus approximately 4 minutes/^* 

At about 6:30 p.m. on the day of the assassmation, McWatters 
viewed four men in a police lineup. He picked Oswald from the 
lineup as the man who had boarded the bus at the "lower end of town 
on Elm around Houston," and who, during the ride south on Mar- 
salis, had an argument with a woman passenger.^^^ In his Commis- 
sion testimony, McWatters said he had been in error and that a 
teenager named Milton Jones was the passenger he had in mind.*^^ 
In a later interview, Jones confirmed that he had exchanged words 
with a woman passenger on the bus during the ride south on Mar- 
salis.*^^ McWatters also remembered that a man received a transfer 
at Lamar and Elm Streets and that a man in the Imeup was about the 
size of this man.*^^ However, McWatters' recollection alone was too 
vague to be a basis for placing Oswald on the bus. 

Riding on the bus was an elderly woman, Mary Bledsoe, who con- 
firmed the mute evidence of the transfer. Oswald had rented a room 
from Mrs. Bledsoe about 6 weeks before, on October 7,^^^ but she had 
asked him to leave at the end of a week. Mrs. Bledsoe told him "I 
am not going to rent to you any more." She testified, "I didn't 
like his attitude. * * * There was just something about him I didn't 
like or want him. * * * Just didn't want him around me." On 
November 22, Mrs. Bledsoe came downtown to watch the Presidential 
motorcade. She boarded the Marsalis bus at St. Paul and Elm Streets 
to return home.*^- She testified further : 

And, after we got past Akard, at Murphy — I figured it out. 
Let's see. I don't know for sure. Oswald got on. He looks 
like a maniac. His sleeve was out here. * * * His shirt was 


Was a hole in it, hole, and he was dirty, and I didn't look at 
him. I didn't want to know I even seen him * * * 


* * * he looked so bad in his face, and his face was so 


* * * jjole in his sleeve right here.^^^ 

As Mrs. Bledsoe said these words, she pointed to her right elbow.*^* 
^Hien Oswald Avas arrested in the Texas Theatre, he was wearing a 
brown sport shirt with a hole in the right sleeve at the elbow.*^^ Mrs. 
Bledsoe identified the shirt as the one Oswald was wearing and 
she stated she was certain that it was Oswald who boarded the 
bus.*"'^ Mrs. Bledsoe recalled that Oswald sat halfway to the rear of 
the bus which moved slowly and intermittently as traffic became 
heavy.^3^ She heard a passing motorist tell the driver that the Presi- 


dent had been shot.^^^ People on the bus began talking about it. As 
the bus neared Lamar Street, Oswald left the bus and disappeared 
into the crowd.^^® 

The Marsalis bus which Oswald boarded traveled a route west on 
Elm, south on Houston, and southwest across the Houston viaduct 
to service the Oak Cliff area along Marsalis.^^ A Beckley bus which 
also served the Oak Cliff area, followed the same route as the Marsalis 
bus through downtown Dallas, except that it continued west on Elm, 
across Houston in front of the Depository Building, past the Triple 
Underpass into west Dallas, and south on Beckley.^*^ Marsalis 
Street is seven blocks from Beckley .^^^ Oswald lived at 1026 North 
Beckley.^^^ He could not reach his roominghouse on the Marsalis 
bus, but the Beckley bus stopped across the street.^** According to 
McWatters, the Beckley bus was behind the Marsalis bus, but he did 
not actually see it.^*^ Both buses stopped within one block of the 
Depository Building. Instead of waiting there, Oswald apparently 
went as far away as he could and boarded the first Oak Cliff bus which 
came along rather than wait for one which stopped across the street 
from his roominghouse. 

In a reconstruction of this bus trip, agents of the Secret Service and 
the FBI Avalked the seven blocks from the front entrance of the De- 
pository Building to Murphy and Elm three times, averaging 6I/2 
minutes for the three trips.**^ A bus moving through heavy traffic 
on Elm from Murphy to Lamar was timed at 4 minutes.^^ If Oswald 
left the Depository Building at 12 :33 p.m., walked seven blocks di- 
rectly to Murphy and Elm, and boarded a bus almost immediately, 
he would have boarded the bus at approximately 12:40 p.m. and 
left it at approximately 12.44 p.m. (See Commission Exhibit No. 
1119-A, p. 158.) 

Roger D. Craig, a deputy sheriff of Dallas County, claimed that 
about 15 minutes after the assassination he saw a man, whom he 
later identified as Oswald,**^ coming from the direction of the De- 
pository Building and running doAvn the hill north of Elm Street 
toward a light-colored Rambler station wagon, which was moving 
slowly along Elm toward the underpass.^^^ The station wagon stopped 
to pick up the man and then drove off.^^° Craig testified that later 
in the afternoon he saw Oswald in the police interrogation room and 
told Captain Fritz that Oswald was the man he saw.*^^ Craig also 
claimed that when Fritz pointed out to Oswald that Craig had identi- 
fied him, Oswald rose from his chair, looked directly at Fritz, and 
said, "Everybody will know who I am now.'' 

The Commission could not accept important elements of Craig's tes- 
timony. Captain Fritz stated that a deputy sheriff whom he could not 
identify did ask to see him that afternoon and told him a similar story 
to Craig's.^^^ Fritz did not bring him into his office to identify Oswald 
but turned him over to Lieutenant Baker for questioning. If Craig 
saw Oswald that afternoon, he saw him through the glass windows 
of the office. And neither Captain Fritz nor any other officer can 
remember that Oswald dramatically arose from his chair and said, 


"Everybody will know who I am now." '^^^ If Oswald had made such 
a statement, Captain Fritz and others present would probably have 
remembered it. Craig may have seen a person enter a white Rambler 
station wagon 15 or 20 minutes after the shooting and travel west on 
Elm Street, but the Commission concluded that this man was not 
Lee Harvey Oswald, because of the overwhelming evidence that 
Oswald was far away from the building by that time. 

The taxicab ride. — William Whaley, a taxicab driver, told his em- 
ployer on Saturday morning, November 23, that he recognized Oswald 
from a newspaper photograph as a man Avhom he had driven to the 
Oak Cliff area the day before.*^^ Notified of AVhaley's statement, the 
police brought him to the police station that afternoon. He was taken 
to the lineup room where, according to Whaley, five young teenagers, 
all handcuffed together, were displayed with Oswald.^^*^ He testified 
that Oswald looked older than the other boys.^^^ The police asked him 
whether he could pick out his passenger from the lineup. Whaley 
picked Oswald. He said, 

* * * you could have picked him out without identifying him by 
just listening to him because he was bawling out the policeman, 
telling them it wasn't right to put him in line with these teenagers 
and all of that and they asked me which one and I told them. It 
w^as him all right, the same man. 

He showed no respect for the policemen, he told them what 
he thought about them. They knew wdiat they were doing and 
they were trying to railroad him and he Avanted his lawyer.*^* 

Whaley believes that Oswald's conduct did not aid him in his iden- 
tification "because I knew he was the right one as soon as I saw 

Whaley's memory of the lineup is inaccurate. There Avere four 
men altogether, not six men, in the lineup with Oswald.'*^° Whaley 
said that Oswald was the man under No. 2.*^^ Actually Oswald was 
under No. 3. Only two of the men in the lineup with Oswald were 
teenagers : John T. Horn, aged 18, was No. 1 ; David Knapp, aged 18, 
was No. 2; Lee Oswald Avas No. 3; and Daniel Lujan, aged 26, Avas 
No. 4.*«2 

When he first testified before the Commission, Whaley displayed a 
trip manifest Avhich shoAved a 12 o'clock trip from Travis Hotel 
to the Continental bus station, unloaded at 12 :15 p.m., a 12 :15 p.m. 
pickup at Continental to Greyhound, unloaded at 12 :30 p.m., and a 
pickup from Greyhound (bus station) at 12 :30 p.m., unloaded at 500 
North Beckley at 12 :45 p.m. Whaley testified that he did not keep an 
accurate time record of his trips but recorded them by the quarter 
hour, and that sometimes he made his entry right after a trip Avhile 
at other times he waited to record three or four trips.^®^ As he un- 
loaded his Continental bus station passenger in front of Greyhound, 


he started to get out to buy a package of cigarettes.^^^ He saw a man 
walking south on Lamar from Commerce. The man was dressed in 
faded bkie color khaki work clothes, a brown shirt, and some kind of 
work jacket that almost matched his pants.^^^ The man asked, "May I 
have the cab?", and got into the front seat.*^^ Whaley described the 
ensuing events as follows : 

And about that time an old lady, I think she was an okl lady, 
I don't remember nothing but her sticking her head down past 
him in the door and said, "Driver, will you call me a cab down 

She had seen him get this cab and she wanted one, too, and 
he opened the door a little bit like he was going to get out and 
he said, "I will let you have this one," and she says, "Xo, the 
driver can call me one." 

^ H: % $ 

* * * I asked him where he wanted to go. And he said, "500 
North Beckley." 

Well, I started up, I started to that address, and tlie police 
cars, the sirens was going, running crisscrossing every Avhere, just 
a big uproar in that end of town and I said, "What the liell. I 
wonder what the hell is the uproar ?" 

And he never said anything. So I figured he was one of these 
people that don't like to talk so I never said any more to him. 

But when I got pretty close to 500 block at Xeches and 
North Beckley which is the 500 block, he said, "This will do 
fine," and I pulled over to the curb right there. He gave me a 
dollar bill, the trip was 95 cents. He gave me a dollar bill and 
didn't say anything, just got out and closed the door and walked 
around the front of the cab over to the other side of the street 
[east side of the street]. Of course, the traffic Avas moving 
through there and I put it in gear and moved on, that is the 
last I saw of him.*^^ 

Whaley was somewhat imprecise as to where he unloaded his pas- 
senger. He marked wdiat he thought was the intersection of Xeches 
and Beckley on a map of Dallas with a large "X." ^'^^ He said, "Yes, 
sir; that is right, because that is the 500 block of Xorth Beckley." 
However, Xeches and Beckley do not intersect. Xeches is within one- 
half block of the roominghouse at 1026 Xorth Beckley where Oswald 
was living. The 500 block of Xorth Beckley is five blocks south of 
the roominghouse.*'^ 

After a review of these inconsistencies in his testimony before the 
Commission, Wlialey was intervieAved again in Dallas. The route 
of the taxicab was retraced under the direction of Whaley .^^^ He 
directed the driver of the car to a point 20 feet north of the northwest 
corner of the intersection of Beckley and Xeely, the point at which 
he said his passenger alighted.*'^ This was the TOO block of Xorth 


Beckley.^^* The elapsed time of the reconstructed run from the 
Greyhound Bus Station to Neely and Beckley was 5 minutes and 
30 seconds by stopwatch.*^^ The walk from Beckley and N^eely to 
1026 North Beckley was timed by Commission counsel at 5 minutes 
and 45 seconds.*^^ 

TVhaley testified that Oswald was wearing either the gray zippered 
jacket or the heavy blue jacket.*^^ He was in error, however. Oswald 
could not possibly have been wearing the blue jacket during the trip 
with Wlialey, since it was found in the "domino" room of the De- 
pository late in N'ovember.^'^^ Moreover, Mrs. Bledsoe saw Oswald 
in the bus without a jacket and wearing a shirt with a hole at the 
elbow.^^^ On the other hand, Wlialey identified Commission Exhibit 
No. 150 (the shirt taken from Oswald upon arrest) as the shirt his 
passenger was wearing.*^° He also stated he saw a silver identification 
bracelet on his passenger's left wrist.*®^ Oswald was wearing such 
a bracelet when he was arrested. 

On November 22, Oswald told Captain Fritz that he rode a bus to 
a stop near his home and then walked to his roominghouse.^^^ A^^ien 
queried the following morning concerning a bus transfer found in 
his possession at the time of his arrest, he admitted receiving it.*^* 
And when interrogated about a cab ride, Oswald also admitted that 
he left the slow-moving bus and took a cab to his roominghouse.^^^ 

The Greyhound Bus Station at Lamar and J ackson Streets, where 
Oswald entered Whaley's cab, is three to four short blocks south 
of Lamar and Elm.*^^ If Oswald left the bus at 12:44 p.m. and 
walked directly to the terminal, he would have entered the cab at 
12:47 or 12:48 p.m. If the cab ride was approximately 6 minutes, 
as was the reconstructed ride, he would have reached his destination 
at approximately 12:54 ]D.m. If he was discharged at Neely and 
Beckley and walked directly to his roominghouse, he would have 
arrived there about 12 :59 to 1 p.m. From the 500 block of North 
Beckley, the walk would be a few minutes longer, but in either event 
he would have been in the roominghouse at about 1 p.m. This is 
the approximate time he entered the roominghouse, according to 
Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper there.**^ (See Commission Exhibit 
No. 1119-A, p. 158.) 

Arrival and departure from rooriiinghouse. — Earlene Roberts, 
housekeeper for Mrs. A. C. Johnson at 1026 North Beckley, knew 
Lee Harvey Oswald under the alias of O. H. Lee. She first saw him 
the day he rented a room at that address on October 14, 1963.**^ He 
signed his name as O. H. Lee on the roominghouse register.*^^ 

Mrs. Roberts testified that on Thursday, November 21, Oswald did 
not come home. On Friday, November 22, about 1 p.m., he entered 
the house in unusual haste. She recalled that it was subsequent to the 
time the President had been shot. After a friend had called and told 
her, "President Kennedy has been shot," she turned on the television. 
When Oswald came in she said, "Oh, you are in a huriy," but Oswald 
did not respond. He hurried to his room and stayed no longer than 
3 or 4 minutes. Oswald had entered the house in his shirt sleeves. 



Commission Exhibit No. 1968 


but when he left, he was zipping up a jacket. Mrs. Roberts saw him 
a few seconds later standing near the bus stop in front of the house on 
the east side of Beckley.^®^ 

Oswald was next seen about nine-tenths of a mile away at the south- 
east corner of 10th Street and Patton Avenue, moments before the 
Tippit shooting. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A, p. 158.) 
If Oswald left his roominghouse shortly after 1 p.m. and walked at 
a brisk pace, he would have reached 10th and Patton shortly after 
1 :15 p.m.^®^ Tippit's murder was recorded on the police radio tape 
at about 1 :16 p.m.*^^ 

Description of Shooting 

Patrolman J. D. Tippit joined the Dallas Police Department in 
July 1952.*^^ He was described by Chief Curry as having the repu- 
tation of being "a very fine, dedicated officer." Tippit patroled 
district No. 78 in the Oak Cliff area of Dallas during daylight hours. 
He drove a police car pamted distinctive colors with No. 10 promi- 
nently displayed on each side. Tippit rode alone, as only one man 
was normally assigned to a patrol car in residentiial areas during day- 
light shifts.*95 

At about 12 :44 p.m. on November 22, the radio dispatcher on chan- 
nel 1 ordered all downtown patrol squads to report to Elm and 
Houston, code 3 ( emergency ).^®^ At 12:45 p.m. the dispatcher 
ordered No. 78 (Tippit) to "move into central Oak Cliff area."*^^ 
At 12 :54 p.m., Tippit reported that he was in the central Oak Cliff 
area at Lancaster and Eighth. The dispatcher ordered Tippit to be : 
"* * * at large for any emergency that comes in." According to 
Chief Curry, Tippit was free to patrol the central Oak Cliff area.^^^ 
Tippit must have heard the description of the suspect wanted for the 
President's shooting ; it was broadcast over channel 1 at 12 :45 p.m., 
again at 12:48 p.m., and again at 12:55 p.m.^°° The suspect w^as 
described as a "white male, approximately 30, slender build, height 
5 foot 10 inches, weight 165 pounds." A similar description was 
given on channel 2 at 12 :45 p.m.^^^ 

At approximately 1 :15 p.m., Tippit, who was cruising east on 10th 
Street, passed the intersection of 10th and Patton, about eight blocks 
from where he had reported at 12:54 p.m. About 100 feet past 
the intersection Tippit stopped a man walking east along the south 
side of Patton. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1968, p. 164.) 
The man's general description was similar to the one broadcast over 
the police radio. Tippit stopped the man and called him to his car. 
He approached the car and apparently exchanged words with Tippit 
through the right frolit or vent window. Tippit got out and started 
to walk aromid the front of the car. As Tippit reached the left 
front wheel the man pulled out a revolver and fired several shots. 
Four bullets hit Tippit and killed him instantly. The gunman 
started back toward Patton Avenue, ejecting the empty cartridge 
cases before reloading with fresh bullets. 



At least 12 persons saw the man with the revolver in the vicinity 
of the Tippit crime scene at or immediately after the shooting. By 
the evening of November 22, five of them had identified Lee Harvey 
Oswald in police lineups as tlie man they saw. A sixth did so the 
next day. Three others subsequently identified Oswald from a photo- 
graph. Two witnesses testified that Oswald resembled the man they 
had seen. One witness felt he was too distant from the gunman to 
make a positive identification. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1968, 
p. 164.) 

A taxi driver, William Scoggins, was eating lunch in his cab which 
was parked on Patton facing the southeast corner of 10th Street and 
Patton Avenue a few feet to the north. "^^^ A police car moving east on 
10th at about 10 or 12 miles an hour passed in front of his cab. About 
100 feet from the corner the police car pulled up alongside a man on 
the sidewalk. This man, dressed in a liglit-colored jacket, approached 
the car. Scoggins lost sight of liim behind some shrubbery on the 
southeast corner lot, but he saw the policeman leave the car, heard three 
or four shots, and then saw the policeman fall. Scoggins hurriedly left 
his seat and hid behind the cab as the man came back toward the corner 
with gun in hand. The man cut across the yard through some bushes, 
passed within 12 feet of Scoggins, and ran south on Patton. Scoggins 
saw him and heard him mutter either "Poor damn cop" or "Poor dumb 
cop." The next day Scoggins viewed a lineup of four persons 
and identified Oswald as the man whom he had seen the day before 
at 10th and Patton. In his testimony before the Commission, 
Scoggins stated that he thought he had seen a picture of Oswald in 
the newspapers prior to the lineup identification on Saturday. He 
had not seen Oswald on television and had not been shown any photo- 
graphs of Oswald by the police.^^® 

Another witness, Domingo Benavides, was driAdng a pickup truck 
west on 10th Street. As he crossed the intersection a block east of 
10th and Patton, he saw a policeman standing by the left door of the 
police car parked along the south side of 10th. Benavides saw a man 
standing at the right side of the parked police car. He then heard 
three shots and saw the policeman fall to the ground. By this time 
the pickup truck was across the street and about 25 feet from 
the police car. Benavides stopped and waited in the truck until the 
gunman ran to the corner. He saw him empty the gun and throw the 
shells into some bushes on the southeast corner lot.^^^ It was 
Benavides, using Tippit's car radio, who first reported the killing of 
Patrolman Tippit at about 1 :16 p.m. : "We've had a shooting out 
here." He found two empty shells in the bushes and gave them to 
Patrolman J. M. Poe who arrived on the scene shortly after the shoot- 
jj^g 509 Benavides never saw Oswald after the arrest. Wlien ques- 
tioned by police officers on the evening of November 22, Benavides 
told them that he did not think that he could identify the man who 
fired the shots. As a result, they did not take him to the police station. 


He testified that the picture of OsAvald wliich he saw later on television 
bore a resemblance to the man who shot Officer Tippit.'^^^* 

Just prior to the shooting, Mrs. Helen Markham, a waitress in clown- 
town Dallas, was about to cross 10th Street at Patton. As she waited 
on the northwest corner of the intersection for traffic to pass,^" she 
noticed a young man as he was "almost ready to get up on the 
curb" at the southeast corner of the intersection, approximately 
50 feet away. The man continued along 10th Street. Mrs. Markham 
saw a police car slowly approach the man from the rear and stop 
alongside of him. She saw the man come to the right window of the 
police car. As he talked, he leaned on the ledge of the right window 
with his arms. The man appeared to step back as the policeman 
"calmly opened the car door" and very slowly got out and walked 
toward the front of the car. The man pulled a gun. Mrs. Markham 
heard three shots and saw the policeman fall to the ground near the 
left front wheel. She raised her hands to her eyes as the man started 
to walk back toward Patton. She peered through her fingers, 
lowered her hands, and saw the man doing something with his gun. 
"He was just fooling with it. I didn't know what he was doing. 
I was afraid he was fixing to kill me." The man "in kind of a 
little trot" headed down Patton toward Jefferson Boulevard, a block 
away. Mrs. Markham then ran to Officer Tippit's side and saw him 
lying in a pool of blood.^^^ 

Helen Markham w^as screaming as she leaned over the bocly.^^^ A 
few minutes later she described the gunman to a policeman. Her 
description and that of other eyewitnesses led to the police broadcast 
at 1:22 p.m. describing the slayer as "about 30, 5'8", black hair, 
slender." At about 4 :30 p.m., Mrs. Markham, who had been 
greatly upset by her experience, was able to view a lineup of 
four men handcuffed together at the police station.^^^ She identi- 
fied Lee Harvey Oswald as the man who shot the policeman.^^^ De- 
tective L. C. Graves, who had been with Mrs. Markham before the 
lineup testified that she was "quite hysterical" and w^as "crying and 
upset." He said that Mrs. Markham started crying when Oswald 
walked into the lineup room.^^^ In testimony before the Commission, 
Mrs. Markham confirmed her positive identification of Lee Harvey 
OsAvald as the man she saw kill Officer Tippit.^^^ 

In evaluating Mrs. Markham's identification of Oswald, the Com- 
mission considered certain allegations that Mrs. Markham described 
the man who killed Patrolman Tippit as "short, a little on the heavy 
side," and having "somewhat bushy" hair.^^^ The Commission re- 
viewed the transcript of a phone conversation in which Mrs. Markham 
is alleged to have provided such a description. A review of the 
complete transcript has satisfied the Commission that Mrs. Markham 
strongly reaffirmed her positive identification of Oswald and denied 
having described the killer as short, stocky and having bushy hair. 
She stated that the man weighed about 150 pounds. Although 
she used the words "a little bit bushy" to describe the gunman's hair, 
the transcript establishes that she was referring to the uncombed 


state of his hair, a description fully supported by a photograph of 
Oswald taken at the time of his arrest. (See Pizzo Exhibit Xo. 
453-C, p. 177.) Although in the phone conversation she described 
the man as "short," on November 22, within minutes of the shooting 
and before the lineup, Mrs. Markham described the man to the police 
as 5'8" tall.^28 

During her testimony Mrs. Markham initially denied that she ever 
had the above phone conversation.^^^ She has subsequently admitted 
the existence of the conversation and offered an explanation for her 
denial.^^ Addressing itself solely to the probative value of Mrs. 
Markham's contemporaneous description of the gunman and her posi- 
tive identification of Oswald at a police lineup, the Commission con- 
siders her testimony reliable. However, even in the absence of Mrs. 
Markham's testimony, there is ample evidence to identify Oswald as 
the killer of Tippit. 

Two young women, Barbara Jeanette Davis and Virginia Davis, 
were in an apartment of a multiple-unit house on the southeast corner 
of 10th and Patton when they heard the sound of gmifire and the 
screams of Helen Markham. They ran to the door in time to see 
a man with a revolver cut across their lawn and disappear around 
a comer of the house onto Patton.^^ Barbara Jeanette Davis assumed 
that he was emptying his gun as "he had it open and was shaking 
{1^ 532 ^Y^Q immediately called the police. Later in the day each 
woman found an empty shell on the ground near the house. These 
two shells were delivered to the police.^^^ 

On the evening of November 22, Barbara Jeanette and Virginia 
Davis viewed a group of four men in a lineup and each one picked 
Oswald as the man who crossed their lawn while emptying liis 
pistol.^^* Barbara Jeanette Davis testified that no one had shown her 
a picture of Oswald before the identification and that she had not 
seen him on television. She was not sure whether she had seen his 
picture in a newspaper on the afternoon or evening of November 22 
prior to the lineup.^^^ Her reaction when she saw Oswald in the 
lineup was that "I was pretty sure it was the same man I saw. Wlien 
they made him turn sideways, I was positive that was the one I 
seen." Similarly, Virginia Davis had not been shown pictures of 
anyone prior to the lineup and had not seen either television or the 
newspapers during the afternoon.^^ She identified Oswald, who was 
the No. 2 man in the lineup,^^^ as the man she saw running with the 
gun: she testified, "I would say that was him for sure." Barbara 
Jeanette Davis and Virginia Davis were sitting alongside each other 
when they made their positive identifications of Oswald.^*° Each 
woman whispered Oswald's number to the detective. Each testified 
that she was the first to make the identification.^"*^ 

William Arthur Smith was about a block east of 10th and Patton 
when he heard shots. He looked west on 10th and saw a man rmining 
to the west and a policeman falling to the ground. Smith failed to 
make himself known to the police on November 22. Several days 
later he reported what he had seen and was questioned by FBI 


agents.^*^ Smith subsequently told a Commission staff member that 
he saw Oswald on television the night of the murder and thought that 
Oswald was the man he had seen running away from the shoot- 
jj^g 543 television Oswald's hair looked blond, whereas Smith 

remembered that the man who ran away had hair that was 
brown or brownish black. Later, the FBI showed Smith a picture 
of Oswald. In the picture the hair was brown. According to his 
testimony. Smith told the FBI, "It looked more like him than it did 
on television." He stated further that from "What I saw of him" 
the man looked like the man in the picture.^^^ 

Two other important eyewitnesses to Oswald's flight were Ted 
Callaway, manager of a used-car lot on the northeast corner 
of Patton Avenue and Jefferson Boulevard, and Sam Guinyard, 
a porter at the lot. They heard the sound of shots to the 
north of their lot.^*^ Callaway heard five shots, and Guinyard 
three. Both ran to the sidewalk on the east side of Patton 
at a point about a half " a block south of 10th. They saw a 
man coming south on Patton with a revolver held high in his right 
hand. According to Callaway, the man crossed to the west side of 
Patton.^*^ From across the street Callaway yelled, "Hey, man, what 
the hell is going on?" He slowed down, halted, said something, 
and then kept on going to the comer, turned right, and con- 
tinued west on Jefferson. Guinyard claimed that the man 
ran down the east side of Patton and passed within 10 feet 
of him before crossing to the other side.^*^ Guinyard and Cal- 
laway ran to 10th and Patton and found Tippit lying in the 
street beside his car.^^^ Apparently he had reached for his gun; 
it lay beneath him outside of the holster. Callaway picked up 
the gun.^^^ He and Scoggins attempted to chase down the gunman 
in Scoggin's taxicab,^^^ but he had disappeared. Early in the evening 
of November 22, Guinyard and Callaway viewed the same lineup of 
four men from which Mrs. Markham had earlier made her identifica- 
tion of Lee Harvey Oswald. Both men picked Oswald as the man 
who had run south on Patton with a gun in his hand.^^^ Callaway 
told the Comifiission : "So they brought four men in. I stepped to the 
back of the room, so I could kind of see him from the same distance 
which I had seen him before. And when he came out I knew him." 
Guinyard said, "I told them that was him right there. I pointed him 
out right there." Both Callaway and Guinyard testified that they 
had not been shown any pictures by the police before the lineup. 

The Dallas Police Department furnished the Commission with pic- 
tures of the men who appeared in the lineups with Oswald,^^'^ and the 
Commission has inquired into general lineup procedures used by the 
Dallas police as well as the specific procedures in the lineups involving 
Oswald.^^^ The Commission is satisfied that the lineups were con- 
ducted fairly. 

As Oswald ran south on Patton Avenue toward Jefferson Boulevard 
he was moving in the direction of a used-car lot located on the south- 
east corner of this inter section. Four men — ^Warren Reynolds,^®° 


730-900 0-64— 13 


Commission Exhibit No. 143 


Harold Eussell,^^^ Pat Patterson/^^ and L. J. Lewis — were on the 
lot at the time, and they saw a white male with a revolver in his hands 
running south on Patton. When the man reached Jefferson, he turned 
right and headed west. Reynolds and Patterson decided to follow 
him. When he reached a gasoline service station one block away he 
turned north and walked toward a parking area in the rear of the 
station. Neither Reynolds nor Patterson saw the man after he turned 
off Jefferson at the service station. These four witnesses were in- 
terviewed by FBI agents 2 months after the shooting. Russell and 
Patterson were shown a picture of Oswald and they stated that Oswald 
w^as the man they saw on November 22, 1963. Russell confirmed this 
statement in a sworn affidavit for the Commission.^^'"' Patterson, when 
asked later to confirm his identification by affidavit said he did not 
recall having been shown the photograph. He was then shown two 
photographs of Oswald and he advised that Oswald was "unquestion- 
ably" the man he saw.^^^ Reynolds did not make a positive identifica- 
tion when interviewed by the FBI, but he subsequently testified before 
a Commission staff member and, when shown two photographs of 
Oswald, stated that they were photographs of the man he saw.^^^ L. J. 
Lewis said in an interview that because of the distance from which he 
observed the gunman he would hesitate to state whether the man was 
identical with Oswald. 

Murder Weapon 

When Oswald was arrested, he had in his possession a Smith & 
Wesson .38 Special caliber revolver, serial number V510210. (See 
Commission Exhibit No. 143, p. ITO). Two of the arresting officers 
placed their initials on the weapon and a third inscribed his name. 
All three identified Exhibit No, 143 as the revolver taken from Oswald 
when he was arrested.^^^ Four cartridge cases were found in the 
shrubbery on the corner of 10th and Patton by three of the eyewit- 
nesses — Domingo Benavides, Barbara Jeanette Davis, and Virginia 
Davis.^^" It was the unanimous and unequivocal testimony of expert 
witnesses before the Conimission that these used cartridge cases were 
fired from the revolver in Oswald's possession to the exclusion of all 
other weapons. (See app. X, p. 559.) 

Cortlandt Cunningham, of the Firearms Identification Unit of the 
FBI Laboratory, testified that he compared the four empty cartridge 
cases found near the scene of the shooting with a test cartridge fired 
from the weapon in OsAvald's possession w^hen he was arrested. Cun- 
ningham declared that this weapon fired the four cartridges to the 
exclusion of all other weapons. Identification was effected through 
breech face marks and firing pin marks.^"^ Robert A. Frazier and 
Charles Killion, other FBI firearms experts, independently examined 
the four cartridge cases and arrived at the same conclusion as Cun- 
ningham.^^- At the request of the Commission, Joseph D. Nicol, 
superintendent of the Illinois Bureau of Criminal Identification In- 
vestigation, also examined the four cartridge cases found near the 
site of the homicide and compared them with the test cartridge cases 


fired from the Smith & Wesson revolver taken from Oswald. He 
concluded that all of these cartridges were fired from the same 

Cunningham compared four lead bullets recovered from the body 
of Patrolman Tippit with test bullets fired from Oswald's revolver.^'* 
He explained that the bullets were slightly smaller than the barrel of 
the pistol which had fired them. This caused the bullets to have an 
erratic passage through the barrel and impressed upon the lead of the 
bullets inconsistent individual characteristics which made identifica- 
tion impossible. Consecutive bullets fired from the revolver by the 
FBI experts could not be identified as having been fired from that 
revolver.^^^ ( See app. X, p. 559.) Cunningham testified that all of the 
bullets were mutilated, one being useless for comparison purposes. All 
four bullets were fired from a weapon with five lands and grooves and a 
right twist ^'^ which were the rifling characteristics of the revolver 
taken from Oswald. He concluded, however, that he could not say 
whether the four bullets Avere fired from the revolver in Oswald's 
possession.^'^ "The only thing I can testify is they could have on the 
basis of the rifling characteristics — they could have been." '''^^ 

Nicol differed with the FBI experts on one bullet taken from Tip- 
pit's body. He declared that this bullet ^'^ was fired from the same 
weapon that fired the test bullets to the exclusion of all other weapons. 
But he agreed that because the other three bullets were mutilated, he 
could not determine if they had been fired from the same weapon as 
the test bullets.5«« 

The examination and testimony of the experts enabled the Commis- 
sion to conclude that five shots may have been fired, even though only 
four bullets were recovered. Three of the bullets recovered from Tip- 
pit's body were manufactured by Winchester- Western, and the fourth 
bullet by Kemington- Peters, but only two of the four discarded car- 
tridge cases found on the lawn at 10th Street and Patton Avenue were 
of Winchester- Western manufacture.^^^ Therefore, one cartridge 
case of this type was not recovered. And though only one bullet of 
Remington-Peters manufacture was recovered, two empty cartridge 
cases of that make were retrieved. Therefore, either one bullet of 
Remington-Peters manufacture is missing or one used Remington- 
Peters cartridge case, which may have been in the revolver before the 
shooting, was discarded along Avith the others as Oswald left the 
scene. If a bullet is missing, five were fired. This corresponds with 
the observation and memory of Ted Callaway,^^^ and possibly Warren 
Reynolds, but not with the other eyewitnesses who claim to have heard 
from two to four shots. 

Ownership of Revolver 

By checking certain importers and dealers after the assassination 
of President Kennedy and slaying of OlRcer Tippit, agents of the FBI 
determined that George Rose & Co. of Los Angeles was a major dis- 



c o y p o H 

I Gentlemen 

1231 S. Orana Awm. 
Dept. M|.|t L A. 15. Caei 

Plewe ship me meMlowlm' 

Mexioui Bowie 
.410 Shotean 

FUntiodk Uvmzle 
Remington .22 
.22 LoBi; Rmco 
air rifle 

,38 S. « W. Spec. 
30 /OS Spriagfi«ld 
.38 Scotknd Yd. Sp. 
t*r«e S^riam', 
.39 St. W. 2" BW. 
:23 Xtal. AUtO 

nma TGtal 





4^0 a«te tax. VMhmi of4t»r1«« 

Item* are to be 6hlpp«d F.O.B. 
colleat. Calif, res. add 4% " 
pi>toi«, pt«a«* aign ttat«fn«i 
I Oercby state that I am a ciUms of I be U.S., nut 
that I have never been enavietad in any eoim 
tbe V.S., territoriea, possesaions or Diatrict of Ccdum- 
bta of a crime ef viotaraea or a crime mmisbalaite by 
impriaonnMRt for a term jjgei^mAUtg I 7e«r, nor am 

" ■" " " fttflrtdre from 

Juatlce. I. «a> oS-if9*lC?MPnd <tf ttoani. mind. 

122] S. GRAND PHONE Rl 8-3292 


A. J, mdell 
SOLD . P. 0. Bwt 2915 
JO ftiUaa, Taaa 

Heinz W. ffichaells Exhibit 2 

1 «£ 

S & if .3S 3pe«ia B« Ce 


Full P»y'). , 

C»5h a 

Depo^. ^0«QO, UX. CO D. J3_3i C«h?3 

Chsd< Q 

K.O. O 

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MiCHAELis Exhibit No. 2 

Commission Exhibit No. 790 

Railway Exjpress a^gexcy 

Heinz Vf. Miehaelis Exhibit h 

(1507-P)Losflng«!es ,Calif.(M) (5 1-47) [^'tT^" 





Shipper's Invoics ^ y / 


*Behii°| 1 


MiCHAFJJs Exhibit No. 5 

MiOHAELis Exhibit No. 4 


tributor of this type of revolver.^^^ Records of Seaport Traders, 
Inc., a mail-order division of George Rose & Co., disclosed that on 
January 3, 1963, the company received from Empire* Wliolesale 
Sporting Goods, Ltd., Montreal, a shipment of 99 guns in one case. 
Among these guns was a .38 Special caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, 
serial No. V510210, the only revolver made by Smith & Wesson with 
this serial number.^^^ Wlien first manufactured, it had a 5-inch barrel. 
George Rose & Co. had the barrel shortened by a gunsmith to 2l^ 

Sometime after January 27, 1963, Seaport Traders, Inc., received 
through the mail a mail-order coupon for one ".38 St. W. 2" Bbl.," 
cost $29.95. Ten dollars in cash was enclosed. The order was signed 
in ink by "A. J. Hidell, aged 28." (See Commission Exhibit No. 
790, p. 173.) The date of the order was January 27 (no year shown) , 
and the return address was Post Office Box 2915, Dallas, Tex. Also 
on the order form was an order, written in ink, for one box of 
ammunition and one holster, but a line was drawn through these 
items. The mail-order form had a line for the name of a witness 
to attest that the person ordering the gun was a U.S. citizen and had 
not been convicted of a felony. The name written in this space was 
D. F. Drittal.5«^ 

Heinz W. Michaelis, office manager of both George Rose & Co., Inc., 
and Seaport Traders, Inc., identified records of Seaport Traders, Inc., 
which showed that a ".38 S and W Special two-inch Commando, 
serial number V510210" was shipped on March 20, 1963, to A. J. 
Hidell, Post Office Box 2915, Dallas, Tex. The invoice was prepared 
on March 13, 1963; the revolver was actually shipped on March 20 
by Railway Express. The balance due on the purchase was $19.95. 
Michaelis furnished the shipping copy of the invoice, and the Rail- 
way Express Agency shipping documents, showing that $19.95, plus 
$1.27 shipping charge, had been collected from the consignee, Hidell.^^^ 
(See Michaelis Exhibits Nos. 2, 4, 5, p. 173.) 

Handwriting experts, Alwyn Cole of the Treasury Department and 
James C. Cadigan of the FBI, testified before the Commission that 
the writing on the coupon was Oswald's. The signature of the wit- 
ness, D. F. Drittal, who attested that the fictitious Hidell was an 
American citizen and had not been convicted of a felony, was also 
in Oswald's handwriting.^^® Marina Oswald gave as her opinion 
that the mail-order coupon was in Oswald's handwriting.^®^ When 
shown the revolver, she stated that she recognized it as the one owned 
by her husband.^®^ She also testified that this appeared to be the 
revolver seen in Oswald's belt in the picture she took in late March 
or early April 1963 when the family was living on Neely Street in 
Dallas.^®^ Police found an empty revolver holster when they searched 
Oswald's room on Beckley Avenue after his arrest. Marina Oswald 
testified that this was the holster which contained the revolver in 
the photographs taken on Neely Street.^®* 


Oswald's Jacket 

Approximately 15 minutes before the shooting of Tippit, Oswald 
was seen leaving his roominghouse.^®^ He was wearing a zipper 
jacket which he had not been wearing moments before when he had 
arrived home.^^^ When Oswald was arrested, he did not have a 
jacket.^^^ Shortly after Tippit was slain, policemen found a light- 
colored zipper jacket along the route taken by the killer as he at- 
tempted to escape.^®^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 1968, p. 164.) 

At 1 :22 p.m. the Dallas police radio described the man wanted for 
the murder of Tippit as "a white male about thirty, five foot eight 
inches, black hair, slender, wearing a white jacket, white shirt and 
dark slacks." According to Patrolman Poe this description came 
from Mrs. Markham and Mrs. Barbara Jeanette Davis.®°° Mrs. 
Markham told Poe that the man was a "white male, about 25, about 
five feet eight, brown hair, medium," and wearing a "white jacket." 
Mrs. Davis gave Poe the same general description : a "white male in 
his early twenties, around five foot seven inches or eight inches, about 
145 pounds," and wearing a white jacket. 

As has been discussed previously, two witnesses. Warren Reynolds 
and B. M. Patterson, saw the gunman run toward the rear of a gaso- 
line service station on Jefferson Boulevard. Mrs. Mary Brock, the 
wife of a mechanic who worked at the station, was there at the time 
and she saw a white male, "5 feet, 10 inches * * * wearing light 
clothing * * * a light-colored jacket" walk past her at a fast pace 
with his hands in his pocket. She last saw him in the parking lot 
directly behind the service station. When interviewed by FBI agents 
on January 21, 1964, she identified a picture of Oswald as being the 
same person she saw on November 22. She confirmed this interview 
by a sworn affidavit.^^^ 

At 1 :24 p.m., the police radio reported, "The suspect last seen run- 
ning west on Jefferson from 400 East Jefferson." Police Capt. W. 
E. Westbrook and several other officers concentrated their search along 
Jefferson Boulevard.®°^ Westbrook walked through the parking lot 
behind the service station and found a light-colored jacket lying 
under the rear of one of the cars.^^^ Westbrook identified Commis- 
sion Exhibit No. 162 as the light-colored jacket which he discovered 
underneath the automobile.^^^ 

This jacket belonged to Lee Harvey Oswald. Marina Oswald 
stated that her husband owned only two jackets, one blue and the 
other gray.^^^ The blue jacket was found in the Texas School Book 
Depository and was identified by Marina Oswald as her hus- 
band's.^°^ Marina Oswald also identified Commission Exhibit No. 
162, the jacket found by Captain Westbrook, as her husband's second 

The eyewitnesses vary in their identification of the jacket. Mrs. 
Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper at Oswald's roominghouse and the 
last person known to have seen him before he reached 10th Street and 
Patton Avenue, said that she may have seen the gray zipper jacket but 


she was not certain. It seemed to her that the jacket Oswald wore was 
darker than Commission Exhibit Xo. 162.^^^ Ted Callaway, who saw 
the gunman moments after the shooting, testified that Commission 
Exhibit No. 162 looked like the jacket he was wearing but "I thought it 
had a little more tan to it." Two other witnesses, Sam Guinyard 
and William Arthur Smith, testified that Commission Exhibit Xo. 162 
was the jacket worn by the man they saw on November 22. Mrs. Mark- 
ham and Barbara Davis thought that the jacket worn by the slayer of 
Tippit was darker than the jacket found by Westbrook.^^^ Scoggins 
thought it was lighter.^^* 

There is no doubt, however, that Oswald was seen leaving his room- 
inghouse at about 1 p.m. Avearing a zipper jacket, that the man who 
killed Tippit was wearing a light-colored jacket, that he was seen 
running along Jefferson Boulevard, that a jacket was found under a 
car in a lot adjoining Jefferson Boulevard, that the jacket belonged 
to Lee Harvey Oswald, and that when he was arrested at approxi- 
mately 1 :50 p.m., he was in shirt sleeves. These facts warrant the 
finding that Lee Harvey Oswald disposed of his jacket as he fled from 
the scene of the Tippit killing. 


The foregoing evidence establishes that (1) two eyewitnesses who 
heard the shots and saw the shooting of Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. 
Tippit and seven eyewitnesses who saw the flight of the gunman with 
revolver in hand positively identified Lee Harvey Oswald as the man 
they saw fire the shots or flee from the scene, (2) the cartridge cases 
found near the scene of the shooting were fired from the revolver -in 
the possession of Oswald at the time of his arrest, to the exclusion of 
all other weapons, (3) the revolver in Oswald's possession at the time 
of his arrest was purchased by and belonged to Oswald, and (4) 
Oswald's jacket was found along the path of flight taken by the gun- 
man as he fled from the scene of the killing. On the basis of this 
evidence the Commission concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald killed 
Dallas Police Patrolman J. D. Tippit. 


The Texas Theatre is on the north side of Jefferson Boulevard, 
approximately eight blocks from the scene of the Tippit shooting and 
six blocks from where several witnesses last saw Oswald run- 
ning west on Jefferson Boulevard. (See Commission Exhibit No. 
1968, p. 164.) Shortly after the Tippit murder, police sirens sounded 
along Jefferson Boulevard. One of the persons who heard the sirens 
was Johnny Calvin Brewer, manager of Hardy's Shoestore, a few 
doors east of the Texas Theatre. Brewer knew from radio broadcasts 
that the President had been shot and that a patrolman had also been 
shot in Oak Cliff.^^^ AYlien he heard police sirens, he "looked up and 






saw the man enter the lobby," a recessed area extendmg about 15 feet 
between the sidewalk and the front door of his store.^^^ A police 
car made a U-turn, and as the sirens grew fainter, the man in the 
lobby "looked over his shoulder and turned around and walked 
up West Jefferson towards the theatre." The man wore a T-shirt 
beneath his outer shirt and he had no jacket. Brewer said, "He 
just looked funny to me. * * * His hair was sort of messed up and 
looked like he had been rmming, and he looked scared, and he looked 
funny." ^^o 

Mrs. Julia Postal, selling tickets at the box office of the Texas 
Theatre, heard police sirens and then saw a man as he "ducked into" 
the outer lobby space of the theatre near the ticket office.^-^ Attracted 
by the sound of the sirens, Mrs. Postal stepped out of the box office 
and walked to the curb.*^^^ Shortly thereafter, Johnny Brewer, who 
had come from the nearby shoestore, asked ^Irs. Postal whether the 
fellow that had ducked in had bought a ticket.^^^ She said, "Xo; by 
golly, he didn't," and turned around, but the man was nowhere in 
sight.^^* Brewer told Mrs. Postal that he had seen the man ducking 
into his place of business and that he had followed him to the 
theatre.^^^ She sent Brewer into the theatre to find the man and 
check the exits, told him about the assassination, and said "I don't 
know if this is the man they want * * * but he is running from them 
for some reason." She then called the police.^^^ 

At 1 :45 p.m., the police radio stated, "Have information a suspect 
just went in the Texas Theatre on West Jefferson." Patrol cars 
bearing at least 15 officers converged on the Texas Theatre.^^^ Patrol- 
man M. N. McDonald, with Patrolmen R. Hawkins, T. A. Hutson, 
and C. T. Walker, entered the theatre from the rear.^^° Other police- 
men entered the front door and searched the balcony. Detective 
Paul L. Bentley rushed to the balcony and told the projectionist to 
turn up the house lights.®^^ Brewer met McDonald and the other 
policemen at the alley exit door, stepped out onto the stage Avith them 
and pointed out the man who had come into the theatre without pay- 
jj^g 634 r^i^Q mQ.n was Oswald. He was sitting alone in the rear of the 
main floor of the theatre near the right center aisle. About six or 
seven people were seated on the theatre's main floor and an equal 
number in the balcony.^^^ 

McDonald first searched two men in the center of the main floor, 
about 10 rows from the front.^^" He walked out of the row up the 
right center aisle.^^^ '\'Vlien he reached the row where the suspect was 
sitting, McDonald stopped abruptly and told the man to get on his 
feet.®^^ Oswald rose from his seat, bringing up both hands.^^° As 
McDonald started to search Oswald's waist for a gun, he heard him 
say, "Well, it's all over now." Oswald then struck McDonald 
between the eyes with his left fist ; with his right hand he drew a gun 
from his waist.^*^ McDonald struck back with his right hand and 
grabbed the gTin with his left hand.*^*^ They both fell into the seats.^^* 
Three other officers, moving toward the scuffle, grabbed Oswald from 
the front, rear and side.^*^ As McDonald fell into the seat with his left 


hand on the gun, he felt something graze across his hand and heard 
what sounded like the snap of the hammer.^*^ McDonald felt the 
pistol scratch his cheek as he wrenched it away from Oswald. De- 
tective Bob K. Carroll, w^ho was standing beside McDonald, seized 
the gun from him.^*^ 

The other officers who helped subdue Oswald corroborated McDon- 
ald in his testimony except that they did not hear Oswald say, "It's 
all over now." Deputy Sheriff Eddy R. Walthers recalled such a 
remark but he did not reach the scene of the struggle until Oswald 
had been knocked to the floor by McDonald and the others.^*^ Some 
of the officers saw^ Oswald strike McDonald with his fist.^^° Most of 
them heard a click which they assumed to be a click of the hammer 
of the revolver.^^^ Testimony of a firearms expert before the Com- 
mission established that the hammer of the revolver never touched the 
shell in the chamber.®^^ Although the witnesses did not hear the 
sound of a misfire, they might have heard a snapping noise resulting 
from the police officer grabbing the cylinder of the revolver and pull- 
ing it away from Oswald while he was attempting to pull the 
trigger .^^^ ( See app. X, p. 560. ) 

Two patrons of the theatre and John Brewer testified regarding the 
arrest of Oswald, as did the various police officers who participated 
in the fight. George Jefferson Applin, Jr., confirmed that Oswald 
fought with four or five officers before he was handcuffed.^^* He added 
that one officer grabbed the muzzle of a shotgun, drew back, and hit 
Oswald with the butt end of the gun in the back.^^^ No other theatre 
patron or officer has testified that Oswald was hit by a gun. Nor did 
Oswald ever complain that he was hit with a gun, or injured in the 
back. Deputy Sheriff Walthers brought a shotgun into the theatre 
but laid it on some seats before helping subdue Oswald. Officer Ray 
Hawkins said that there was no one near Oswald who had a shotgun 
and he saw no one strike Oswald in the back with a rifle butt or the 
butt of a gun.^^^ 

John Gibson, another patron in the theatre, saw an officer grab Os- 
wald, and he claims that he heard the click of a gun misfiring.^^^ He 
saw no shotgmi in the possession of any policeman near Oswald.^^^ 
Johnny Brewer testified he saw Oswald pull the revolver and the 
officers struggle with him to take it away but that once he was subdued, 
no officer struck him.^^° He further stated that while fists were flying 
he heard one of the officers say "Kill the President, will you." It 
is unlikely that any of the police officers referred to Oswald as a suspect 
in the assassination. While the police radio had noted the similarity 
in description of the two suspects, the arresting officers were pursuing 
Oswald for the murder of Tippit.®^^ As Oswald, handcuffed, was 
led from the theatre, he w^as, according to McDonald, "cursing a 
little bit and hollering police brutality." At 1 :51 p.m., police 
car 2 reported by radio that it was on the way to headquarters with 
the suspect.^®* 

Captain Fritz returned to police headquarters from the Texas 
School Book Depository at 2 :15 after a brief stop at the sheriff's of- 


fi(.g 665 he entered the homicide and robbery bureau office, he 

saw two detectives standing there with Sgt. Gerald L. Hill, who had 
driven from the theatre with Oswald.®^^ Hill testified that Fritz told 
the detective to get a search warrant, go to an address on Fifth Street 
in Irving, and pick up a man named Lee Oswald. AVhen Hill asked 
why Oswald was wanted, Fritz replied, "Well, he was employed down 
at the Book Depository and he had not been present for a roll call of 
the employees." Hill said, "Captain, we will save you a trip * * * 
there he sits." 


Oswald was questioned intermittently for approximately 12 hours 
between 2:30 p.m., on November 22, and 11 a.m., on November 24. 
Throughout this interrogation he denied that he had anything to do 
either with the assassination of President Kennedy or the murder of 
Patrolman Tippit. Captain Fritz of the homicide and robbery 
bureau did most of the questioning, but he kept no notes and there 
Avere no stenographic or tape recordings. Representatives of other law 
enforcement agencies were also present, including the FBI and the 
U.S. Secret Service. They occasionally participated in the question- 
ing. The reports prepared by those present at these interviews are 
set forth in appendix XL A full discussion of Oswald's detention 
and mterrogation is presented in chapter V of this report. 

During the evening of November 22, the Dallas Police Department 
performed paraffin tests on Oswald's hands and right cheek in an 
apparent effort to determine, by means of a scientific test, whether 
Oswald had recently fired a weapon. The results were positive for 
the hands and negative for the right cheek.^^^ Expert testimony before 
the Commission was to the effect that the paraffin test was unreliable 
in determining whether or not a person has fired a rifle or revolver.^*^^ 
The Commission has, therefore, placed no reliance on the paraffin 
tests administered by the Dallas police. (See app. X, pp. 561-562.) 

Oswald provided little information during his questioning. Fre- 
quently, however, he was confronted with evidence which he could 
not explain, and he resorted to statements which are known to be 
lies.^^^ While Oswald's untrue statements during interrogation were 
not considered items of positive proof by the Commission, they had 
probative value in deciding the weight to be given to his denials that 
he assassinated President Kennedy and killed Patrolman Tippit. 
Since independent evidence revealed that Oswald repeatedly and 
blatantly lied to the police, the Commission gave little weight to 
his denials of guilt. 

Denial of Rifle Ownership 

From the outset, Oswald denied owning a rifle. On November 23, 
Fritz confronted Oswald with the evidence that he had purchased 
a rifle under the fictitious name of "Hidell." Oswald said that this 



was not true. Oswald denied that he had a rifle wrapped up in a 
blanket in the Paine garage. Oswald also denied owning a rifle and 
said that since leaving the Marine Corps he had fired only a small 
bore .22 rifle. ^'^ On the afternoon of November 23, Officers H. M. 
Moore, R. S. Stovall, and G. F. Rose obtained a search warrant and 
examined Oswald's effects in the Paine garage. They discovered two 
photographs, each showing Oswald with a rifle and a pistol.^^^ These 
photographs were shown to Oswald on the evening of November 23 
and again on the morning of the 24th. According to Fritz, Oswald 
sneered, saying that they were fake photographs, that he had been 
photographed a number of times the day before by the police, that 
they had superimposed upon the photographs a rifle and a revolver.^'^ 
He told Fritz a number of times that the smaller photograph was either 
made from the larger, or the larger photograph was made from the 
smaller and that at the proper time he would show that the pictures 
were fakes. Fritz told him that the two small photographs were 
found in the Paine garage. At that point, Oswald refused to answer 
any further questions.^'^ As previously indicated, Marina Oswald 
testified that she took the two pictures with her husband's Imperial 
Reflex camera when they lived on Xeely Street. Her testimony was 
fully supported by a photography expert who testified that m his 
opinion the pictures were not composites.®^^ 

The Revolver 

At the first interrogation, Oswald claimed that his only crime was 
carrying a gun and resisting arrest. ^"VHien Captain Fritz asked him 
why he carried the revolver, he answered, "Well, you know about a 
pistol. I just carried it.-' ^'^ PTe falsely alleged that he bought the 
revolver in Fort Worth,^'^ when in fact he purchased it from a mail- 
order house in Los Angeles.®^° 

The Aliases "Hidell" and "0. H. Lee" 

The arresting officers found a forged selective service card with a 
picture of Oswald and the name "Alek J. Hideir' in Oswald's 
billfold.^^ On November 22 and 23, Oswald refused to tell Fritz why 
this card was in his possession,^^- or to answer any questions concern- 
ing the card.°^'^ On Sunday mornhig, November 24, Oswald denied 
that he knew A. J. Hidell. Captain Fritz produced the selective 
service card bearing the name "Alek J. Hidell." OsAvald became 
angry and said, "Now, I've told you all I'm going to tell you about that 
card in my billfold — you have the card yourself and you know as much 
about it as I do." At the last interrogation on November 24, 
Oswald admitted to Postal Inspector Holmes that he had rented post 
office box 2915, Dallas, but denied tliat he had received a package 
in this box addressed to Hidell. He also denied that he had received 
the rifle through this box.*^^^ Holmes reminded OsAvald that A. J. 


Hidell was listed on post office box 30061, New Orleans, as one entitled 
to receive mail. Oswald replied, "I don't know anything about 

When asked why he lived at his roominghouse under the name O. H. 
Lee, Oswald responded that the landlady simply made a mistake, be- 
cause he told her that his name was Lee, meaning his first name/'^' An 
examination of the roominghouse register revealed that Oswald actu- 
ally signed the name O. H. Lee.^^^ 

The Curtain Rod Story 

In concluding that Oswald was carrying a rifle in the paper bag 
on the morning of November 22, 1963, the Commission found that 
Oswald lied when he told Frazier that he was returning to Irving to 
obtain curtain rods. When asked about the curtain rod story, Oswald 
lied again. He denied that he had ever told Frazier that he wanted 
a ride to Irving to get curtain rods for an apartment.^^^ He explained 
that a party for the Paine children had been planned for the weekend 
and he preferred not to be in the Paine house at that time ; therefore, 
he made his weekly visit on Thursday night.'''^" Actually, the party 
for one of the Paine's children was the preceding weekend, when 
Marina Oswald suggested that Oswald remain in Dallas.^^^ When 
told that Frazier and Mrs. Randle had seen him carrying a long heavy 
package, Oswald replied, "Well, they was mistaken. That must have 
been some other time he picked me up." In one interview, he told 
Fritz that the only sack he carried to work that day was a lunch sack 
which he kept on his lap during the ride from Irving to Dallas.^^^ 
Frazier testified before the Commission that Oswald carried no lunch 
sack that day.^^* 

Actions During and After Shooting 

During the first interrogation on November 22, Fritz asked Oswald 
to account for himself at the time the President was shot. Oswald 
told him that he ate lunch in the first-floor lunchroom and then went 
to the second floor for a Coke which he brought downstairs. He 
acknowledged the encounter with the police officer on the second 
floiOr. Oswald told Fritz that after lunch he went outside, talked with 
Foreman Bill Shelley for 5 or 10 minutes and then left for home. 
He said that he left work because Bill Shelley said that there Avould 
be no more work done that day in the building.^^^ Shelley denied 
seeing Oswald after 12 noon or at any time after the shooting.^^^ The 
next day, Oswald added to his story. He stated that at the time the 
President was shot he was having lunch with "Junior" but he did 
not give Junior's last name.^®^ The only employee at the Depositor}^ 
Building named "Junior" was James Jarman, Jr. Jarman testified 
that he ate his lunch on the first floor around 5 minutes to 12, and 
that he neither ate lunch with nor saw Oswald.^^^ J arman did talk to 
Oswald that morning : 


* * * he asked me what were the people gathering around on the 
corner for and I told him that the President was supposed to pass 
that morning, and he asked me did I know which way he was com- 
ing, and I told him, yes, he probably come down Main and turn 
on Houston and then back again on Elm. Then he said, "Oh, I 
see," and that was all.^^^ 


The Attempt on the Life of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker 

At approximately 9 p.m., on April 10, 1963, in Dallas, Tex.,^Maj. 
Gen. Edwin A. Walker, an active and controversial figure on the 
American political scene since his resignation from the U.S. Army in 
1961, narrowly escaped death when a rifle bullet fired from .outside his 
home passed near his head as he was seated at his desk.'^°° There were 
no eyewitnesses, although a 14-year-old boy in a neighboring house 
claimed that immediately after the shooting he saw two men, in sep- 
arate cars, drive out of a church parking lot adjacent to Walker's 
home."^^^ A friend of Walker's testified that tw^o nights bef,ore the 
shooting he saw "two men around the house peeking in windows." 
General Walker gave this information to the police before the shoot- 
ing, but it did not help solve the crime. Although the bullet was re- 
covered from Walker's house (see app. X, p. 562), in the absence of a 
weapon it was of little investigatory value. General Walker hired 
two investigators to determine whether a former employee might have 
been involved in the shooting."^^^ Their results were negative. Until 
December 3, 1963, the Walker shooting remained unsolved. 

The Commission evaluated the following evidence in considering 
whether Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shot w^hich almost killed Gen- 
eral Walker: (1) A note which Oswald left for his wife on the even- 
ing of the shooting, (2) photographs found among Oswald's 
possessions after the assassination of President Kennedy, (3) fire- 
arm identification of the bullet found in Walker's home, and (4) 
admissions and other statements made to Marina Oswald by Oswald 
concerning the shooting. 

Note left hy Oswald. — On December 2, 1963, Mrs. Ruth Paine 
turned over to the police some of the Oswalds' belongings, including 
a Russian volume entitled "Book of Useful Advice." In this book 
was an undated note written in Russian. In translation, the note 
read as follows : 

1. This is the key to the mailbox which is located in the main 
post office in the city on Ervay Street. This is the same street 
where the drugstore, in which you always waited is located. You 
will find the mailbox in the post office which is located 4 blocks 
from the drugstore on that street. I paid for the box last month 
so don't worry about it. 


2. Send the information as to what has happened to me to 
the Embassy and inckide newspaper clippings (should there be 
anything about me in the newspapers). I belieive that the Em- 
bassy will come quickly to your assistance on learning everything. 

3. I paid the house rent on the 2d so don't worry about it. 

4. Recently I also paid for water and gas. 

5. The money from work will possibly be coming. The money 
will be sent to our post office box. Go to the bank and cash the 

6. You can either throw out or give my clothing, etc. away. 
Do not keep these. However, I prefer that you hold on to my 
personal papers (military, civil, etc.). 

7. Certain of my documents are in the small blue valise. 

8. The address book can be foimd on my table in the study 
should need same. 

9. We have friends here. The Red Cross also will help you. 
(Red Cross in English), [sic] 

10. I left you as much money as I could, $60 on the second of 
the month. You and the baby [apparently] can live for another 
2 months using $10 per week. 

11. If I am alive and taken prisoner, the city jail is located 
at the end of the bridge through which we always passed on 
going to the city (right in the beginning of the city after crossing 
the bridge) ."^^^ 

James C. Cadigan, FBI handwriting expert, testified that this note 
was written by Lee Harvey Oswald. "^^^ 

Prior to the Walker shooting on April 10, Oswald had been attend- 
ing typing classes on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday evenings. 
He had quit these classes at least a week before the shooting, which 
occurred on a Wednesday night.^^^ According to Marina Oswald's 
testimony, on the night of the Walker shooting, her husband left their 
apartment on Neely Street shortly after dinner. She thought he 
was attending a class or was "on his own business." ^Ylien he failed 
to return by 10 or 10 :30 p.m., Marina Oswald went to his room and 
discovered the note. She testified : "When he came back I asked 
him what had happened. He was very pale. I don't remember the 
exact time, but it was very late. And he told me not to ask him any 
questions. He only told me he had shot at General Walker." 
Oswald told his wife that he did not know whether he had hit Walker ; 
according to Marina Oswald when he learned on the radio and in the 
newspapers the next day that he had missed, he said that he "was 
very sorry that he had not hit him." Marina Oswald's testimony 
was fully supported by the note itself which appeared to be the work 
of a man expecting to be killed, or imprisoned, or to disappear. The 
last paragraph directed her to the jail and the other paragraphs in- 
structed her on the disposal of Oswald's personal effects and the 
management of her affairs if he should not return. 

It is clear that the note was written while the Oswalds were living 
in Dallas before they moved to New Orleans in the spring of 1963. 


The references to house rent and payments for water and gas mdicated 
that the note was written when they were living in a rented apartment ; 
therefore it could not have been written while Marina Oswald was 
living with the Paines. Moreover, the reference in paragraph 3 to 
paying "the house rent on the 2d" would be consistent with the period 
when the Oswalds were living ,on Neely Street since the apartment 
was rented on March 3, 1963. Oswald had paid the first month's 
rent in advance on March 2, 1963, and the second month's rent was 
paid on either April 2 or April 3.^^^ The main post office "on Ervay 
Street" refers to the post office where Oswald rented box 2915 from 
October 9, 1962, to May 14, 1963J12 Another statement which limits 
the time when it could have been written is the reference "you and 
the baby," which would indicate that it was probably written before 
the birth of Oswald's second child on October 20, 1963. 

Oswald had apparently mistaken the county jail for the city jail. 
From Neely Street the Oswalds would have traveled downtown on 
the Beckley bus, across the Commerce Street viaduct and into down- 
town Dallas through the Triple Underpass."^^^ Either the viaduct or 
the underpass might have been the "bridge" mentioned in the last 
paragraph of the note. The county jail is at the comer of Houston 
and Main Streets "right in the beginning of the city" after one travels 
through the underpass. 

Photographs. — In her testimony before the Commission in Febru- 
ary 1964, Marina Oswald stated that when Oswald returned home on 
the night of the Walker shooting, he told her that he had been planning 
the attempt for 2 months. He showed her a notebook 3 days later 
containing photographs of General Walker's home and a map of the 
area Avhere the house was located.'^^* Although Oswald destroyed 
the notebook,^^^ three photographs found among Oswald's possessions 
after the assassination were identified by Marina Oswald as photo- 
graphs of General Walker's house.^^^ Two of these photographs were 
taken from the rear of Walker's house."^^^ The Commission confirmed, 
by comparison with other photographs, that these were, indeed, 
photographs of the rear of Walker's house.'^^^ An examination of the 
window at the rear of the house, the wall through which the bullet 
passed, and the fence behind the house indicated that the bullet was 
fired from a position near the point where one of the photographs was 

The third photograph identified by Marina Oswald depicts the 
entrance to General Walker's driveway from a back alley.^^^ Also 
seen in the picture is the fence on Avhich Walker's assailant apparently 
rested the rifle.'^^^ An examination of certain construction work ap- 
pearing in the background of this photograph revealed that the picture 
was taken between March 8 and 12, 1963, and most probably on either 
March 9 or March 10.^^^ Oswald purchased the money order for the 
rifle on March 12, the rifle was shipped on March 20,^-^ and the shoot- 
ing occurred on April 10. A photography expert with the FBI was 
able to determine that this picture was taken with the Imperial Reflex 
camera owned by Lee Harvey Oswald.'^24 (■ggg g^pp x, p. 596.) 


730-900 0-64— 14 

A fourth photograph, showing a stretch of railroad tracks, was also 
identified by Marina Oswald as having been taken by her husband, 
presumably in connection with the Walker shootingJ^^ Investigation 
determined that this photograph was taken approximately seven- 
tenths of a mile from Walker's house/^^ Another photograph of rail- 
road tracks found among Oswald's possessions was not identified by 
his wife, but investigation revealed that it was taken from a point 
slightly less than half a mile from General Walkers house.'-' Marina 
Oswald stated that when she asked lier husband what he had done with 
the rifle, he replied that he had buried it in the ground or hidden it in 
some bushes and that he also mentioned a railroad track in this con- 
nection. She testified that several days later Oswald recovered his 
rifle and brought it back to their apartment.^-* 

Firearms identlficatwn. — In the room beyond the one in whicli Gen- 
eral Walker was sitting on the night of the shooting the Dallas police 
recovered a badly mutilated bullet which had come to rest on a stack 
of paper.'^^^ The Dallas City-County Investigation Laboratory tried 
to determine the type of weapon which fired the bullet. The oral re- 
port was negative because of the battered condition of the bullet.'^" 
On November 30, 1963, the FBI requested the bullet for ballistics ex- 
amination ; the Dallas Police Department forwarded it on December 2, 

Robert A. Frazier, an FBI ballistics identification expert, testified 
that he was "unable to reach a conclusion" as to whether or not the bul- 
let recovered from Walker's house had been fired from the rifle found 
on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building. He 
concluded that "the general rifling characteristics of the rifle * * * 
are of the same type as those found on the bullet * * * and, further, 
on this basis * * * the bullet could have been fired from the rifle on 
the basis of its land and gToove impressions." Frazier testified 
further that the FBI avoids the category of "probable" identification. 
Unless the missile or cartridge case can be identified as coming from a 
particular weapon to the exclusion of all others, the FBI refuses to 
draw any conclusion as to probability. Frazier testified, however, 
that he found no microscopic characteristics or other evidence which 
would indicate that the bullet was not fired from the Mannlicher- 
Carcano rifle owned by Lee Harvey Oswald. It was a 6. 5 -millimeter 
bullet and, according to Frazier, "relatively few" types of rifles could 
produce the characteristics found on the bullet."^^* 

Joseph D. Nicol, superintendent of the Illinois Bureau of Criminal 
Identification and Investigation, conducted an independent examina- 
tion of this bullet and concluded "that there is a fair probability" 
that the bullet was fired from the rifle used in the assassination of Presi- 
dent Kemiedy.^^^ In explaining the difference between his policy and 
that of the FBI on the matter of probable identification, Nicol said : 

I am aware of their position. This is not, I am sure, arrived at 
without careful consideration. However, to say that because one 
does not find sufficient marks for identification that it is a negative, 


I think is going overboard in the other direction. And for pur- 
poses of probative value, for whatever it might be worth, in the 
absence of very definite negative evidence, I think it is permissible 
to say that in an exhibit such as 573 there is enough on it to say 
that it could have come, and even perhaps a little stronger, to 
say that it probably came from this, without going so far as to 
say to the exclusion of all other guns. This I could not do."^^^ 

Although the Commission recognizes that neither expert was able 
to state that the bullet which missed General Walker was fired from 
Oswald's rifle to the exclusion of all others, this testimony was con- 
sidered probative when combined with the other testimony linking 
Oswald to the shooting. 

Additional Gorrohorative evidence. — The admissions made to Marina 
Oswald by her husband are an important element in the evidence that 
Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shot at General Walker. As shown above, 
the note and the photographs of Walker's house and of the nearby 
railroad tracks provide important corroboration for her account of the 
incident. Other details described by Marina Oswald coincide with 
facts developed independently of her statements. She testified that her 
husband had postponed his attempt to kill Walker until that Wednes- 
day because he had heard that there was to be a gathering at the church 
next door to Walker's house on that evening. He indicated that he 
wanted more people in the vicinity at the time of the attempt so that 
his arrival and departure would not attract great attention.^^^ An of- 
ficial of this church told FBI agents that services are held every 
Wednesday at the church except during the month of August."^^* 
Marina Oswald also testified that her husband had used a bus to return 
home.'^^^ A study of the bus routes indicates that Oswald could have 
taken any one of several different buses to Walker's house or to a point 
near the railroad tracks where he may have concealed the rifle.^*^ It 
would have been possible for him to take different routes in approach- 
ing and leaving the scene of the shooting. 

Conclusion. — Based on (1) the contents of the note which Oswald 
left for his wife on April 10, 1963, (2) the photographs found among 
Oswald's possessions, (3) the testimony of firearms identification 
experts, and (4) the testimony of Marina Oswald, the Commission 
has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to take the life 
of Maj. Gen. Edwin A. Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army) on April 10, 
1963. The finding that Lee Harvey Oswald attempted to murder 
a public figure in April 1963 was considered of probative value in 
this investigation, although the Commission's conclusion concerning 
the identity of the assassin was based on evidence independent of the 
finding that Oswald attempted to kill General Walker. 

Richard M. Nixon Incident 

Another alleged threat by Oswald against a public figure involved 
former Vice President Richard M. Nixon. In January 1964, Marina 
Oswald and her busmess manager, James Martin, told Robert Oswald, 


Lee Harvey Os\Yald's brother, that Oswald had once threatened to 
shoot former Vice President Kichard M. Nixon."*^ When Marina Os- 
wald testified before the Commission on February 3-6, 1964, she had 
failed to mention the incident when she was asked whether Oswald had 
ever expressed any hostility toward any official of the United StatesJ^^ 
The Commission first learned of this incident when Eobert Oswald 
related it to FBI agents on February 19, 1964,^^^ and to the Commission 
on February 21J** 

Marina Oswald appeared before the Commission again on June 11, 
1964, and testified that a few days before her husband's departure 
from Dallas to New Orleans on April 24, 1963, he finished reading a 
morning newspaper * * and put on a good suit. I saw that he 
took a pistol. I asked him where he was going, and why he was get- 
ting dressed. He answered 'Nixon is coming. I want to go and have 
a look.' " He also said that he would use the pistol if the opportunity 
arose."^^ She remmded him that after the Walker shooting he had 
promised never to repeat such an act. Marina Oswald related the 
events which followed : 

I called him into the bathroom and I closed the door and I wanted 
to prevent him and then I started to cry. And I told him that 
he shouldn't do this, and that he had promised me. 

* * * * * * * 

I remember that I held him. We actually struggled for several 
minutes and then he quieted down."^*^ 

She stated that it was not physical force which kept hun from leaving 
the house. "I couldn't keep him from going out if he really wanted 
to." After further questioning she stated that she might have 
been confused about shutting him in the bathroom, but that "there 
is no doubt that he got dressed and got a gun." ^'^^ 

Oswald's revolver was shipped from Los Angeles on March 20, 
1963,^^^ and he left for New Orleans on April 24, 1963.^^0 edition 
of either Dallas newspaper during the period January 1, 1963, to 
May 15, 1963, mentioned any proposed visit by Mr. Nixon to Dallas. 
Mr. Nixon advised the Commission that the only time he was in 
Dallas in 1963 was on November 20-21, 1963.^^^ An investigation 
failed to reveal any invitation extended to Mr. Nixon during the 
period when Oswald's threat reportedly occurred."^^^ The Commis- 
sion has concluded, therefore, that regardless of what Oswald may 
have said to his wife he was not actually planning to shoot Mr. Nixon 
at that time in Dallas. 

On April 23, 1963, Vice President Lyndon B. Jolmson was in Dallas 
for a visit which had been publicized in the Dallas newspapers 
throughout April, '^^^ The Commission asked Marina Oswald whether 
she might have misunderstood the object of her husband's tlireat. 
She stated, "there is no question that in tliis incident it was a question 
of Mr. Nixon." When asked later whether it might have been 


Mr. Jolmson, she said, "Yes, no. I am getting a little confused with 
so many questions. I was absolutely convinced it was Nixon and 
now after all these questions I wonder if I am right in my mind." 
She stated further that Oswald had only mentioned Xixon's name 
once during the incident.'" Marina Oswald might have misunderstood 
her husband. Mr. Johnson was the then Vice President and his visit 
took place on April 23d.'^^ This was 1 day before Oswald left for 
New Orleans and Marina appeared certain that the Nixon incident 
"wasn't the day before. Perhaps 3 days before." '^^^ 

Marina Oswald speculated that the incident may have been unrelated 
to an actual threat. She said, 

* * * It might have been that he was just trying to test me. He 
was the kind of person who could try and wound somebody in that 
way. Possibly he didn't want to go out at all but was just 
doing this all as a sort of joke, not really as a joke but rather 
to simply wound me, to make me feel bad.''^^ 

In the absence of other evidence that Oswald actually intended to 
shoot someone at this time, the Commission concluded that the inci- 
dent, as described by Marina Oswald, Avas of no probative value in the 
Conmiission's decision concerning the identity of the assassin of Presi- 
dent Kennedy. 


In deciding whether Lee Harvey Oswald fired the shots which 
killed President Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally, the 
Commission considered whether Oswald, using his own rifle, possessed 
the capability to hit his target with two out of three shots under the 
conditions described in chapter III. The Commission evaluated (1) 
the nature of the shots, (2) Oswald's Marine training in marksman- 
sliip, (3) his experience and practice after leaving the Marine Corps, 
and (4) the accuracy of the weapon and the quality of the ammunition. 

The Nature of the Shots 

For a rifleman situated on the sixth floor of the Texas School 
Book Depository Building the shots were at a slow-moving target 
proceeding on a downgrade in virtually a straight line with the aline- 
ment of the assassin's rifle, at a range of 177 to 266 feet.'^^ An aerial 
photograph of Dealey Plaza shows that Elm Street runs at an angle 
so that the President would have been moving in an almost straight 
line away from the assassin's rifle. '^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 
876, p. 33.) In addition, the 3° downward slope of Elm Street was of 
assistance in eliminating at least some of the adjustment which is ordi- 
narily required when a marksman must raise his rifle as a target 
moves farther away.'^^^ 

Four marksmanship experts testified before the Commission. Maj. 
Eugene D. Anderson, assistant head of the Marksmanship Branch of 


the U.S. Marine Corps, testified that the shots which struck the Presi- 
dent in the neck and in the head were ''not * * * particidarly diffi- 
cult." Kobert A. Frazier, FBI expert in firearms identification 
and training, said : 

From my own experience in shooting over the years, when you 
shoot at 175 feet or 260 feet, which is less than 100 yards, with 
a telescopic sight, you should not have any difficulty in hitting 
your target. 

I mean it requires no training at all to shoot a weapon with a 
telescopic sight once you know that you must put the crosshairs 
on the target and that is all that is necessary. "^-^ 

Ronald Simmons, chief of the U.S. Army Infantry ^Veapons Evahi- 
ation Branch of the Ballistics Research Laboratory, said : "Well, in 
order to achieve three hits, it would not be required that a man be an 
exceptional shot. A proficient man with this weapon, yes." '^^ 

The effect of a four-power telescopic sight on the difficulty of these 
shots was considered in detail by M. Sgt. James A. Zahm, noncommis- 
sioned officer in charge of the Marksmanship Training Unit in the 
Weapons Training Battalion of the Marine Corps School at Quantico, 
Va.'^^^ Referring to a rifle Avith a four-power telescope. Sergeant 
Zahm said : 

* * * this is the ideal type of weapon for moving targets * * * "^s 

H< if: 4: ^ H( 

* * * Using the scope, rapidly working a bolt and using the scope 
to relocate your target quickly and at the same time when you 
locate that target you identify it and the crosshairs are in close 
relationship to the point you want to shoot at, it just takes a 
minor move in aiming to bring the crosshairs to bear, and then 
it is a quick squeeze.'^^^ 

I consider it a real advantage, particularly at the range of 100 
yards, in identifying your target. It allows you to see your 
target clearly, and it is still of a minimum amount of power that 
it doesn't exaggerate your own body movements. It just is an 
aid in seeing in the fact that you only have the one element, the 
crosshair, in relation to the target as opposed to iron sights with 
aligning the sights and then aligning them on the target.''^ 

Characterizing the four-power scope as "a real aid, an extreme aid" 
in rapid fire shooting. Sergeant Zahm expressed the opinion that the 
shot which struck President Kennedy in the neck at 176.9 to 190.8 
feet was "very easy" and the shot which struck the President in the 


head at a distance of 265.3 feet was "an easy shot." After viewmg 
photographs depicting the alinement of Elm Street in relation to the 
Texas School Book Depository. Building, Zahm stated further : 

This is a definite advantage to the shooter, the vehicle moving 
directly away from him and the downgrade of the street,* and he 
being in an elevated position made an almost stationary target 
while he was aiming in, very little movement if any.'^^^ 

Oswald's Marine Training 

In accordance with standard Marine procedures, Oswald received 
extensive training in marksmanship.'^^^ During the first week of an 
intensive 3 -week training period he received instruction in sighting, 
aiming, and manipulation of the trigger.^^* He went through a series 
of exercises called dry firing where he assumed all positions which 
would later be used in the qualification course."^ After familiariza- 
tion with live ammunition in the .22 rifle and .22 pistol, Oswald, like 
all Marine recruits, received training on the rifle range at distances 
up to 500 yards, firing 50 romids each day for five days.^^^ 

Following that training, Oswald was tested in December of 1956, 
and obtained a score of 212, which was 2 points above the minimum for 
qualifications as a "sharpshooter" in a scale of marksman — sharp- 
shooter — expert."^" In May of 1959, on another range, Oswald scored 
191, which was 1 point over the minimum for ranking as a "marks- 
man." The Marine Corps records maintained on Oswald further 
show that he had fired and was familiar with the Browning Auto- 
matic rifle, .45 caliber pistol, and 12-gage riot gun."^^^ 

Based on the general Marine Corps ratings, Lt. Col. A. G. Folsom, 
Jr., head. Records Branch, Personnel Department, Headquarters U.S. 
Marine Corps, evaluated the sharpshooter qualification as a "fairly 
good shot" and a low marksman rating as a "rather poor shot." 

When asked to explain the different scores achieved by Oswald on 
the two occasions when he fired for record. Major Anderson said : 

* * * when he fired that [212] he had just completed a very in- 
tensive preliminary training period. He had the services of 
an experienced highly trained coach. He had high motivation. 
He had presumably a good to excellent rifle and good ammunition. 
We have nothing here to show under what conditions the B course 
was fired. It might well have been a bad day for firing the rifle — 
windy, rainy, dark. There is little probability that he had a good, 
expert coach, and he probably didn't have as high a motivation 
because he was no longer in recruit training and under the care 
of the drill instructor. There is some possibility that the rifle 
he was firing might not have been as good a rifle as the rifle that 
he was firing in his A course firing, because [he] may well have 
carried this rifle for quite some time, and it got banged around 
in normal usage.^^^ 


Major Anderson concluded : 

I would say that as compared to other Marines receiving the 
same type of training, that Oswald was a good shot, somewhat 
better than or equal to — better than the average let us say. As 
compared to a civilian who had not received this intensive train- 
ing, he would be considered as a good to excellent shot/^^ 

When Sergeant Zahm was asked whether Oswald's Marine Corps 
training would have made it easier to operate a rifle with a four- 
power scope, he replied : 

Based on that training, his basic knowledge in sight manipula- 
tion and trigger squeeze and what not, I would say that he would 
be capable of sighting that rifle in well, firing it, with 10 

After reviewing Oswald's marksmanship scores, Sergeant Zahm 
concluded : 

I would say in the Marine Corps he is a good shot, slightly 
above average, and as compared to the average male of his age 
throughout the civilian, throughout the United States, that he is 
an excellent shot J 

Oswald's Rifle Practice Outside the Marines 

During one of his leaves from the Marines, Oswald hunted with 
his brother Robert, using a .22 caliber bolt- action rifle belonging either 
to Robert or Robert's in-laws.^®^ After he left the Marines and before 
departing for Russia, Oswald, his brother, and a third companion went 
hunting for squirrels and rabbits."^^ On that occasion Oswald again 
used a bolt-action .22 caliber rifle; and according to Robert, Lee 
Oswald exhibited an average amount of proficiency with that 
weapon.^^^ While in Russia, Oswald obtained a hunting license, 
joined a hunting club and went hunting about six times, as discussed 
more fully in chapter VI."^^^ Soon after Oswald returned from 
the Soviet Union he again went hunting with his brother, Robert, 
and used a borrowed .22 caliber bolt-action rifle.^^^ After Oswald 
purchased the Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, he told his wife that he prac- 
ticed with it."^^^ Marina Oswald testified that on one occasion she 
saw him take the rifle, concealed in a raincoat, from the house on Neely 
Street. Oswald told her he was going to practice with it."^^^ Ac- 
cording to George De Mohrenschildt, Oswald said that he went target 
shooting with that rifle.'^^^ 

Marina Oswald testified that in New Orleans in May of 1963, she 
observed Oswald sitting with the rifle on their screened porch at night, 
sighting with the telescopic lens and operating the bolt.'^^^ Examina- 
tion of the cartridge cases found on the sixth floor of the Depository 


Building established that they had been previously loaded and ejected 
from the assassination rifle, Avliich woukl indicate that Oswald prac- 
ticed operatiil^ the bolt J^* 

Accuracy of Weapon 

It will be recalled from the discussion in chapter III that the 
assassin in all probability hit two out of the three shots during the 
maximum time span of 4.8 to 5.6 seconds if the second shot missed, or, 
if either the first or third shots missed, the assassin fired the three 
shots during a minimum time span of 7.1 to 7.9 seconds.'^®^ A series 
of tests were performed to determine whether the weapon and ammu- 
nition used in the assassination were capable of firing the shots which 
were fired by the assassin on November 22, 1963. The ammunition 
used by the assassin was manufactured by Western Cartridge Co. of 
East Alton, 111. In tests with the Mannlicher-Carcano C2766 rifle, 
over 100 rounds of this ammunition were fired by the FBI and the 
Infantry Weapons Evaluation Branch of the U.S. Army. There were 
no misfires."^^® 

In an effort to test the rifle under conditions which simulated those 
which prevailed during the assassination, the Infantry Weapons 
Evaluation Branch of the Ballistics Research Laboratory had expert 
riflemen fire the assassination weapon from a tower at three silhouette 
targets at distances of 175, 240, and 265 feet. The target at 265 feet 
was placed to the right of the 240-foot target which was in turn placed 
to the right of the closest silhouette.'^^^ Using the assassination rifle 
mounted with the telescopic sight, three marksmen, rated as master 
by the National Rifle Association, each fired two series of three shots. 
In the first series the firers required time spans of 4.6, 6.75, and 8.25 
seconds respectively. On the second series they required 5.15, 6.45, 
and 7 seconds. None of the marksmen had any practice with the 
assassination w^eapon except for exercising the bolt for 2 or 3 minutes 
on a dry run. They had not even pulled the trigger because of concern 
about breaking the firing pin."^^^ 

The marksmen took as much time as they wanted for the first target 
and all hit the target.-^^ For the first four attempts, the firers missed 
the second shot by several inches.^°° The angle from the first to the 
second shot was greater than from the second to the third shot and 
required a movement in the basic firing position of the marksmen.^^^ 
This angle was used in the test because the majority of the eyewitnesses 
to the assassination stated that there was a shorter interval between 
shots two and three than between shots one and two.^^^ As has been 
shown in chapter III, if the three shots were fired within a period of 
from 4.8 to 5.6 seconds, the shots would have been evenly spaced and 
the assassin would not have incurred so sharp an angular movement.^°^ 

Five of the six shots hit the third target where the angle of move- 
ment of the weapon was small. On the basis of these results, Sim- 
mons testified that in his opinion the probability of hitting the targets 
at the relatively short range at which they were hit was very high.^^^ 


Considering- the various probabilities which may have prevailed durinof 
the actual assassination, the highest level of firing performance which 
would have been required of the assassin and the C2T#6 rifle would 
have been to fire three times and hit the target twice within a span 
of 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. In fact, one of the firers in the rapid fire test 
in firing his two series of three shots, hit the target twice within a span 
of 4.6 and 5.15 seconds. The others would have been able to reduce 
their times if they had been given the opportunity to become familiar 
with the movement of the bolt and the trigger pull.^'^^ Simmons testi- 
fied that familiarity with the bolt could be achieved in dry practice 
and, as has been indicated above, Oswald engaged in such practice. 
If the assassin missed either the first or third shot, he had a total of be- 
tween 4.8 and 5.6 seconds between the two shots which hit and a total 
minimum time period of from 7.1 to 7.9 seconds for all three shots. All 
three of the firers in these tests were able to fire the rounds within the 
time period which would have been available to the assassin under 
those conditions. 

Three FBI firearms experts tested the rifle in order to determine 
the speed with which it could be fired. The purpose of this ex- 
periment was not to test the rifle under conditions which prevailed 
at the time of the assassination but to determine the maximum speed 
at which it could be fired. The three FBI experts each fired three 
shots from the weapon at 15 yards in 6, 7, and 9 seconds, and one of 
these agents, Robert A. Frazier, fired two series of three shots at 25 
yards in 4.6 and 4.8 seconds.^^ At 15 yards each man's shots landed 
within the size of a dime.^^^ The shots fired by Frazier at the range of 
25 yards landed within an area of 2 inches and 5 inches respectively 
Frazier later fired four groups of three shots at a distance of 100 yards 
in 5.9, 6.2, 5.6, and 6.5 seconds. Each series of three shots landed within 
areas ranging in diameter from 3 to 5 inches.^^^ Although all of the 
shots were a few inches high and to the right of the target, this was 
because of a defect in the scope which was recognized by the FBI 
agents and which they could have compensated for if they were aiming 
to hit a bull's-eye.*^^ They were instead firing to determine how rap- 
idly the weapon could be fired and the area within which three shots 
could be placed. Frazier testified that while he could not tell when 
the defect occurred, but that a person familiar with the weapon could 
compensate for it.^^^ Moreover, the defect was one which would have 
assisted the assassin aiming at a target which was moving away. 
Frazier said, "The fact that the crosshairs are set high would actually 
compensate for any lead which had to be taken. So that if you aimed 
with this weapon as it actually was received at the laboratory, it 
would not be necessary to take any lead whatsoever in order to hit 
the intended object. The scope would accomplish the lead for 3^ou." 
Frazier added that the scope would cause a slight miss to the right. It 
should be noted, however, that the President's car was curving slightly 
to the right when the third shot was fired. 

Based on these tests the experts agreed that the assassination rifle 
was an accurate weap,on. Simmons described it as "quite accurate," 


in fact, as accurate as current military rifles.^^* Frazier testified that 
the rifle was accurate, that it had less recoil than the average military 
rifle and that 'bne would not have to be an expert marksman to have 
accomplished the assassination with the weapon which was used.^^^ 


The various tests showed that the Mannlicher-Carcano was an ac- 
curate rifle and that the use of a four-power scope was a substantial 
aid to rapid, accurate firing. Oswald's Marine training in marksman- 
ship, his other rifle experience and his established familiarity with 
this particular weapon show that he possessed ample capability to 
commit the assassination. Based on the known facts of the assassina- 
tion, the Marine marksmanship experts. Major Anderson and Sergeant 
Zahm, concurred in the opinion that Oswald had the capability to fire 
three shots, with two hits, within 4.8 and 5.6 seconds.^^^ Concerning 
the shots which struck the President in the back of the neck, Sergeant 
Zahm testified : "With the equipment he [Oswald] had and with his 
ability I consider it a very easy shot." Having fired this shot the 
assassin was then required to hit the target one more time within 
a space of from 4.8 to 5.6 seconds. On the basis of Oswald's training 
and the accuracy of the weapon as established by the tests, the Com- 
mission concluded that Oswald was capable of accomplishing this 
second hit even if there was an intervening shot which missed. The 
pr,obability of hitting the President a second time would have been 
markedly increased if, in fact, he had missed either the first or third 
shots thereby leaving a time span of 4.8 to 5.6 seconds between the 
two shots which struck their mark. The Commission agrees with the 
testimony of Marine marksmanship expert Zahm that it was "an 
easy shot" to hit some part of the President's body, and that the range 
where the rifleman would be expected to hit would include the 
President's head.®^^ 


On the basis of the evidence reviewed in this chapter, the Commis- 
sion has found that Lee Harvey Oswald (1) owned and possessed the 
rifle used to kill President Kennedy and wound Governor Connally, 
(2) brought this rifle into the Depository Building on the morning of 
the assassination, (3) was present, at the time of the assassination, at 
the window from which the shots were fired, (4) killed Dallas Police 
Officer J. D. Tippit in an apparent attempt to escape, (5) resisted ar- 
rest by drawing a fully loaded pistol and attempting to shoot another 
policre officer, (6) lied to the police after his arrest concerning impor- 
tant substantive matters, (7) attempted, in April 1963, to kill Maj. 
Gen. Edwin A. Walker, and (8) possessed the capability with a rifle 
which would have enabled him to commit the assassination. On the 
basis of these findings the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey 
Oswald was the assassin of President Kennedy. 



Detention and Death of Oswald 

EE HARVEY OSWALD spent almost all of the last 48 hours 

of his life in the Police and Courts Building, a gray stone 

J A structure in downtown Dallas that housed the headquarters 

of the Dallas Police Department and the city jail. Following his 
arrest early Friday afternoon, Oswald was brought immediately to 
this building and remained there until Sunday morning, November 24, 
when he was scheduled to be transferred to the county jail. At 11 :21 
that morning, in full view of millions of people watching on television, 
Oswald was fatally wounded by Jack Ruby, who emerged suddenly 
from the crowd of newsmen and policemen witnessing the transfer 
and fired a single shot at Oswald. 

Whether the killing of Oswald was part of a conspiracy involving 
the assassination of President Kennedy is considered in chapter YI. 
Aside from that question, the occurrences within the Police and Courts 
Building between November 22 and 24 raise other important issues 
concerning the conduct of law enforcement officials, the responsibilities 
of the press, the rights of accused persons, and the administration 
of criminal justice in the United States. The Commission has there- 
fore deemed it necessary to determine the facts concerning Oswald's 
detention and death and to evaluate the actions and responsibilities 
of the police and press involved in these events. 

The focal center of the Police and Courts Building during Oswald's 
detention was the third floor, which housed the main offices of the 
Dallas Police Department. The public elevators on this floor opened 
into a lobby midpoint of a corridor that extended along the length 
of the floor for about 140 feet. At one end of this 7-f oot-wide corridor 
were the offices occupied by Chief of' Police Jesse E. Curry and his 
immediate subordinates ; at the other end was a small pressroom that 
could accommodate only a handful of reporters. Along this corridor 
were other police offices, including those of the major detective bureaus. 
Between the pressroom and the lobby was the complex of offices 




Commission Exhibit No. 2175 


belonging to the homicide and robbery bureau, headed by Capt. J. 
Will Fritz.^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 2175, p. 197.) 


The policemen who seized Oswald at the Texas Theatre arrived with 
him at the police department building at about 2 p.m. and brought 
him immediately to the third floor offices of the homicide and robbery 
bureau to await the arrival of Captain Fritz from the Texas School 
Book Depository. After about 15 or 20 minutes Oswald was ushered 
into the office of Captain Fritz for the first of several inten^ogation 
sessions.^ At 4 :05 p.m. he was taken to the basement assembly room 
for his first lineup.^ IVhile waiting outside the lineup room, Oswald 
was searched, and five cartridges and other items were removed fi^om 
his pockets.* After the lineup, at about 4 :20, Oswald was returned to 
Captain Fritz' office for further questioning.^ Two hours later, at 
6 :20 p.m., Oswald was taken downstairs for a second lineup and re- 
turned to Captain Fritz' office within 15 minutes for additional inter- 
rogation.^ Shortly after 7 p.m.. Captain Fritz signed a complaint 
charging Oswald with the murder of Patrolman Tippit. Oswald was 
formally arraigned, i.e., advised of the charges, at 7 :10 p.m., before 
Justice of the Peace David L. Johnston, who came to Captain Fritz' 
office for the occasion.'' 

After a third lineup at about 7 :40 p.m., Oswald was returned to 
Fritz' office.^ About an hour later, after further questioning, Oswald's 
fingerprints and palmprints were taken and a paraffin test (see app. 
XI) administered in Fritz' office, after which the questioning resumed.^ 
At 11 :26 p.m. Fritz signed the complaint charging Oswald with the 
murder of President Kennedy Shortly after midnight, detectives 
took Oswald to the basement assembly room for an appearance of 
several minutes before members of the press.^^ At about 12 :20 a.m. 
Oswald was delivered to the jailer who placed him in a maximum 
security cell on the fifth floor.^^ His cell was the center one in a block 
of three cells that were separated from the remainder of the j ail area. 
The cells on either side of Oswald were empty and a guard was nearby 
whenever Oswald was present.^^ Shortly after 1 :30 a.m. Oswald was 
brought to the identification bureau on the fourth floor and arraigned 
before Justice of the Peace Johnston, this time for the murder of 
President Kennedy.^* 

Questioning resumed in Fritz' office on Saturday morning at about 
10:25 a.m., and the session lasted nearly an hour and 10 minutes.^^ 
Oswald was then returned to his cell for an hour, and at 12 :35 p.m. 
he was brought back to Fritz' office f,or an additional half -hour of 
questioning.^^ From 1 :10 to 1 :30 p.m., Oswald's wife and mother 
visited him in the fourth floor visiting area; at 1:40 p.m. he at- 
tempted to call an attorney in New York.^^ He appeared in another 
lineup at 2 :15 p.m.^^ At 2 :45 p.m., with Oswald's consent, a member 
of the identification bureau obtained fingernail scrapings and speci- 
mens of hair from him.^^ He returned to' the fourth floor at 3:30 


p.m. for a 10-mitiute visit with his brother, Eobert.^^ Between 4 and 
4 :30 p.m., Oswald made two telephone calls to Mrs. Ruth Paine at 
her home in Irving; at about 5 :30 p.m. he was visited by the president 
of the Dallas Bar Association ^ with whom he spoke for about 5 
minutes. From 6 to 7 :15 p.m. Oswald was interrogated once again in 
Captain Fritz' office and then returned to his cell.^* At 8 p.m. he 
called the Paine residence again and asked to speak to his wife, but 
Mrs. Paine told him that his wife was no longer there.^^ 

Oswald was signed out of jail at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday, November 
24, and taken to Captain Fritz' office for a final round of questioning.^^ 
The transfer party left Fritz' office at about 11 :15 a.m. ; at 11 :21 
a.m. Oswald was shot.^^ He was declared dead at Parkland Hospital 
at 1 :07 p.m.29 

Interrogation Sessions 

During the period between 2 :30 p.m. on Friday afternoon and 11 :15 
a.m. Sunday morning, Oswald was interrogated for a total of approxi- 
mately 12 lxours.^° Though subject to intermittent questioning for 
more than 7 hours on Friday, Oswald was given 8 to 9 hours to rest 
that night. On Saturday he was questioned for a total of only 3 hours 
during three interrogation sessions, and on Sunday he was questioned 
for less than 2 hours." (These interrogations are discussed in ch. IV.) 

Captain Fritz' office, within which the interrogations took place, was 
a small room, 14 feet by 9i/^ feet in size.^^ In addition to the police- 
men guarding the prisoner, those present usually included Dallas 
detectives, investigators from the FBI and the Secret Service, and 
occasionally other officials, particularly a post office inspector and the 
U.S. marshal. (See statements in app. XL) As many as seven or 
eight people crowded into the small office.^ In all, more than 25 
different persons participated in or were present at some time during 
interrogations. Captain Fritz, who conducted most of the interroga- 
tions, was frequently called from the room. He said, "I don't believe 
there was any time when I went through a very long period without 
having to step to the door, or step outside, to get a report from some 
pair of officers, or to give them additional assignments."^* In his 
absence, others present would occasionally question Oswald.^^ 

The interrogators differ on whether the confusion prevailing in 
the main third floor corridor penetrated Fritz' office and affected the 
atmosphere within.^^ Oswald's processions through the third floor 
corridor, described more fully below, tended, in Fritz' opinion, to keep 
Oswald upset, and the remarks and questions of newsmen sometimes 
caused him to become annoyed. Despite the confusion that frequently 
prevailed, Oswald remained calm most of the time during the interro- 
gations.^^ According to Captain Fritz : 

You know I didn't have trouble with him. If we w^ould just 
talk to him quietly like we are talking right now, we talked all 
right until I asked him a question that meant something, every 


time I asked him a question that meant something, that would 
produce evidence he immediately told me he wouldn't tell me 
about it and he seemed to anticipate what I was going to ask.^* 

Special Agent J ames W. Bookhout, who represented the FBI at most 
of the interrogations, stated, "I think generally you might say any- 
time that you asked a question that would be pertinent to the investi- 
gation, that would be the type of question he would refuse to 

The number of people in the interrogation room and the tumul- 
tuous atmosphere throughout the third floor made it difficult for the 
interrogators to gain Oswald's confidence and to encourage him to 
be truthful. As Chief Curry has recognized in his testimony, "we 
were violating every principle of interrogation * * * it was just 
against all principles of good interrogation practice." *° 

Oswald's Legal Rights 

All available evidence indicates that Oswald was not subjected to 
any physical hardship during the interrogation sessions or at any 
other time while he was in custody. He was fed and allowed to rest. 
When he protested on Friday against being handcuffed from behind, 
the cuffs were removed and he was handcuffed in front.^^ Although 
he made remarks to newsmen about desiring a shower and demanding 
his "civil rights," Oswald did not complain about his treatment to 
any of the numerous police officers and other persons who had 
much to do Avith him during the 2 days of his detention.^^ As described 
in chapter IV, Oswald received a slight cut over his right eye and a 
bruise under his left eye during the scuffle in the Texas Theatre with the 
arresting officers, three of whom were injured and required medical 
treatment. These marks were visible to all who saw him during the 
2 days of his detention and to millions of television viewers.'*^ 

Before the first questioning session on Friday afternoon, Fritz 
warned Oswald that he was not compelled to make any statement and 
that statements he did make could be used against him.^ About 5 
hours later, he was arraigned for the Tippit murder and within an 
additional 6i/^ hours he was arraigned for the murder of President 
Kennedy. On each occasion the justice of the peace advised Oswald 
of his right to obtain counsel and the right to remain silent.*^ 

Throughout the period of detention, however, Oswald was not rep- 
resented by counsel. At the Friday midnight press conference in 
the basement assembly room, he made the following remarks : 

Oswald. Well, I was questioned by Judge [Johnston]. 

However, I protested at that time that I was not allowed legal 
representation during that very short and sweet hearing. I really 
don't know what the situation is about. Nobody has told me 
anything except that I am accused of, of, murdering a police- 


man. I know nothing more than that and I do request someone 
to come forward to give me legal assistance. 
Q. Did you kill the President? 

A. No. I have not been charged with that. In fact nobody has 
said that to me yet. The first thing I heard about it was when 
the newspaper reporters in the hall asked me that question. 

4: « * * * 4: 4: 

Q. Mr. Oswald, how did you hurt your eye? 
A. A policeman hit me.^^ 

At this time Oswald had been arraigned only for the murder of Patrol- 
man Tippit, but questioning by Captain Fritz and others had been 
substantially concerned with Oswald's connection with the assassi- 

On Friday evening, representatives of the American Civil Liberties 
Union visited the police department to determine whether Oswald 
was being deprived of counsel. They were assured by police officials 
and Justice of the Peace Johnston that Oswald had been informed of 
his rights and was being allowed to seek a lawyer.*^ On Saturday 
Oswald attempted several times to reach John Abt, a New York law- 
yer, by telephone, but with no success.*^ In the afternoon, he called 
Ruth Paine and asked her to try to reach Abt for him, but she too 
failed.^^ Later in the afternoon, H. Louis Nichols, president of the 
Dallas Bar Association, visited Oswald in his cell and asked him 
whether he wanted the association to obtain a lawyer for him. Oswald 
declined the offer, stating a first preference for Abt and a second 
preference for a lawyer from the American Civil Liberties Union.^^ 
As late as Sunday morning, according to Postal Inspector Harry D. 
Holmes, Oswald said that he preferred to get his own lawyer.®^ 


Within an hour of Oswald's arrival at the police department on 
November 22, it became known to newsmen that he was a possible 
suspect in the slaying of President Kennedy as well as in the murder 
of Patrolman Tippit. At least as early as 3 :26 p.m. a television re- 
port carried this information. Reporters and cameramen flooded 
into the building and congregated in the corridor of the third floor, 
joining those few who had been present when Oswald first arrived.^* 

On the Third Floor 

Felix McKnight, editor of the Dallas Times-Herald, who handled 
press arrangements for the President's visit, estimated that within 
24 hours of the assassination more than 300 representatives of news 
media were in Dallas, including correspondents from foreign news- 
papers and press associations.^* District Attorney Henry M. Wade 


730-900 0-64— 15 

thought that the crowd in the third floor hallway itself may have 
numbered as many as 300.^^ Most estimates, including those based 
on examination of video tapes, place upwards of 100 newsmen and 
cameramen in the third floor corridor of the police department by 
the evening of November 22.^*^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 2633, 
p. 203.) 

In the words of an FBI agent who was present, the conditions at 
the police station were "not too much unlike Grand Central Station 
at rush hour, maybe like the Yankee Stadium during the World Series 
games. * * *" 57 jj^ lobby of the third floor, television cameramen 
set up two large cameras and floodlights in strategic positions that 
gave them a sweep of the corridor in either direction. Technicians 
stretched their television cables into and out of offices, running some 
of them out of the windows of a deputy chief's office and down the 
side of the building. Men with newsreel cameras, still cameras, and 
microphones, more mobile than the television cameramen, moved back 
and forth seeking information and opportunities for interviews. 
Newsmen wandered into the offices of other bureaus located on the third 
floor, sat on desks, and used police telephones; indeed, one reporter 
admits hiding a telephone behind a desk so that he would have exclusive 
access to it if something developed.^^ 

By the time Chief Curry returned to the building in the middle of 
the afternoon from Love Field where he had escorted President 
Johnson from Parkland Hospital, he found that "there was just 
pandemonium on the third floor." ^® The news representatives, he 
testified : 

* * * were- jammed into the north hall of the third floor, which are 
the offices of the criminal investigation division. The television 
trucks, there were several of them around the city hall. I went 
into my administrative offices, I saw cables coming through the 
administrative assistant office and through the deputy chief of 
traffic through his office, and running through the hall they had 
a live TV set up on the third floor, and it was a bedlam of 

According to Special Agent Winston G. Lawson of the Secret 
Service : 

At least by 6 or 7 o'clock * * * [the reporters and cameramen] 
were quite in evidence up and down the corridors, cameras on the 
tripods, the sound equipment, people with still cameras, motion 
picture-type hand cameras, all kinds of people with tape recorders, 
and they were trying to interview people, anybody that belonged 
in police headquarters that might know anything about 
Oswald * * *.«^ 

The corridor became so jammed that policemen and newsmen had 
to push and shove if they wanted to get through, stepping over cables, 



Commission Exhibit No. 2633 
Scene in third floor corridor. 


wires, and tripods. The crowd in the hallway was so dense that Dis- 
trict Attorney Wade found it a "strain to get the door open" to get 
into the homicide office.^^ According to Lawson, "You had to literally 
fight your way through the people to get up and down the corridor." 
A witness who was escorted into the homicide offices on Saturday after- 
noon related that he 

tried to get by the reporters, stepping over television cables and 
you couldn't hardly get by, they would grab you and wanted to 
know what you were doing down here, even with the detectives 
on© in front and one behind you.®^ 

The television cameras continued to record the scene on the third floor 
as some of the newsmen kept vigil through the night.^^ 

Such police efforts as there were to control the newsmen were un- 
availing. Capt. Glen D. King, administrative assistant to Chief Curry, 
witnessed efforts to clear an aisle through the hallway, but related 
that "this was a constant battle because of the number of news- 
men who were there. They would move back into the aisleway that 
had been cleared. They interfered vrith the movement of people who 
had to be there." According to one detective, "they would be asked 
to stand back and stay back but it wouldn't do much good, and they 
would push forward and you had to hold them off physically." The 
detective recalled that on one occasion when he was escorting a witness 
through the corridor he "stopped * * * and looked down and there 
was a joker had a camera stuck between * * * [his] legs taking pic- 
tures. * * * " 68 Forrest V. Sorrels of the Secret Service had the 
impression that the "press and the television people just * * * took 

Police control over the access of other than newsmen to the third 
floor was of limited but increasing effectiveness after Oswald's arrival 
at the police department. Initially no steps were taken to exclude 
unauthorized persons from the third floor corridor, but late Friday 
afternoon Assistant Chief Charles Batchelor stationed guards at the 
elevators and the stairway to prevent the admission of such persons. 
He also directed the records room in the basement to issue passes, after 
verification by the bureaus involved, to people who had legitimate 
business on the third floor. '° Throughout the 3 days of Oswald's de- 
tention, the police were obliged to continue normal business in all five 
bureaus located along the third floor hallway. Thus many persons — 
relatives of prisoners, complainants, witnesses — had occasion to- 
visit police offices on the third floor on business unrelated to the investi- 
gation of the assassination. 

Newsmen seeking admission to the third floor were required to iden- 
tify themselves by their personal press cards ; however, the department 
did not follow its, usual procedure of checking the authenticity of press 
credentials.^^ Captain King felt that this would have been impossible 
in light of "the atmosphere that existed over there, the tremendous 
pressures that existed, the fact that telephones were ringing constantly, 



that there were droves of people in there * * * the fact that the method 
by which you positively identify someone * * * it's not easy." '^^ 

Police officers on the third floor testified that they carefully checked 
all persons for credentials, and most newsmen indicated that after 
Batchelor imposed security they were required to identify themselves 
by their press cardsJ* Special Agent Sorrels of the Secret Service 
stated that he was requested to present credentials on some of his visits 
to the third floor/^ However, other newsmen apparently Avent un- 
challenged during the entire period before Oswald was killed, al- 
though some of them were wearing press badges on their lapels and 
some may have been known to the police officers/^ 

According to some reporters and policemen, people who appeared 
to be unauthorized were present on the third floor after security pro- 
cedures were instituted, and video tapes seem to confirm their observa- 
tions/^ Jack Kuby was present on the third floor on Friday night/® 
Assistant Chief of Police N. T. Fisher testified that even on Saturday 
"anybody could come up with a plausible reason for going to one of 
the third floor bureaus and was able to get in." 

Oswald and the Press 

When the police car bringing Oswald from the Texas Theatre drove 
into the basement of police headquarters at about 2 p.m. on Friday, 
some reporters and cameramen, principally from local papers and sta- 
tions, were already on hand. The policemen formed a wedge around 
Oswald and conducted him to the elevator, but several newsmen 
crowded into the elevator with Oswald and the police. When the ele- 
vator stopped at the third floor, the cameramen ran ahead down the 
corridor, and then turned around and backed up, taking pictures of 
Oswald as he was escorted toward the homicide and robbery bureau 
office. According to one escorting officer, some six or seven reporters 
followed the police into the bureau office.^^ 

From Friday afternoon, when Oswald arrived in the building, until 
Sunday, newspaper reporters and television cameras focused their 
attention on the homicide office. In full view and within arm's length 
of the assembled newsmen, Oswald traversed the 20 feet of corridor 
between the homicide office and the locked door leading to the jail 
elevator at least 15 times after his initial arrival. The jail elevator, 
sealed off from public use, took him to his fifth floor cell and to the 
assembly room in the basement for lineups and the Friday night news 

On most occasions, Oswald's escort of three to six detectives and 
policemen had to push their way through the newsmen who sought to 
surround them. (See Commission Exhibit No. 2631, p. 205.) Al- 
though the Dallas press normally did not take pictures of a prisoner 
without first obtaining permission of the police, who generally asked 
the prisoner, this practice was not followed by any of the newsmen 
with Oswald.®^ Generally when Oswald appeared the newsmen turned 
their cameras on him, thrust microphones at his face, and shouted 





questions at him. Sometimes he answered. Reporters in the forefront 
of the throng would repeat his answers for the benefit of those behind 
them who could not hear. On Saturday, however in response to police 
admonitions, the reporters exercised more restraint and shouted fewer 
questions at Oswald when he passed through the corridor.^^ 

Oswald's most prolonged exposure occurred at the midnight press 
conference on Friday night. In response to demands of newsmen, 
District Attorney Wade, after consulting with Chief Curry and Cap- 
tain Fritz, had announced shortly before midnight that Oswald would 
appear at a press conference in the basement assembly room.^ An 
estimated 70 to 100 people, including J ack Ruby, and other unauthor- 
ized persons, crowded into the small downstairs room. No identifica- 
tion was required.^^ The room was so packed that Deputy Chief M. W. 
Stevenson and Captain Fritz who came down to the basement after 
the crowd had assembled could not get in and were forced to remain 
in the doorway.®^ 

Oswald was brought into the room shortly after midnight.®^ Curry 
had instructed policemen not to permit newsmen to touch Oswald or 
get close to him, but no steps were taken to shield Oswald from the 
crowd.^ Captain Fritz had asked that Oswald be placed on the plat- 
form used for lineups so that he could be more easily removed "if any- 
thing happened." ®® Chief Curry, however, insisted that Oswald stand 
•on the floor in front of the stage, where he was also in front of the 
one-way nylon-cloth screen customarily used to prevent a suspect from 
seeing those present in the room. This was done because cameramen 
had told Curry that their cameras would not photograph well through 
the screen.^^ 

Curry had instructed the reporters that they were not to "ask any 
questions and try to interview * * * [Oswald] in any way," but when 
he was brought into the room, "immediately they began to shoot 
questions at him and shove microphones into his face." It was 
difficult to hear Oswald's answers above the uproar. Cameramen stood 
on the tables to take pictures and others pushed forward to get close- 
ups. ( See Commission Exhibit No. 2965, p. 207. ) The noise and con- 
fusion mounted as reporters shouted at each other to get out of the way 
and camermen made frantic efforts to get into position for pictures.^^ 
After Oswald had been in the room only a few minutes. Chief Curry 
intervened and directed that Oswald be taken back to the jail because, 
he testified, the newsmen "tried to overrun him." 


In Dallas, after a person is charged with a felony, the county sheriff 
ordinarily takes custody of the prisoner and assumes responsibility 
for his safekeeping. Normally, the Dallas Police Department noti- 
fies the sheriff when a prisoner has been charged with a felony and 
the sheriff dispatches his deputies to transport the accused to the 
county jail. This is usually done within a few hours after the com- 


plaint has been filed. In cases of unusual importance, however, the 
Dallas city police sometimes transport the prisoners to the county 

The decision to move Oswald to the coimty jail on Sunday morning 
was reached by Chief Curry the preceding evening. Sometime after 
7 :30 Saturday evening, according to Assistant Chief Batchelor, two 
reporters told him that they wanted to go out to dinner but that "they 
didn't want to miss anything if we were going to move the prisoner." 
Curry came upon them at that point and told the two newsmen 
that if they returned by 10 o'clock in the morning, they wouldn't 
"miss anything." ®^ A little later, after checking with Captain Fritz, 
Curry made a similar announcement to the assembled reporters. 
Curry reported the making of his decision to move Oswald as follows : 

Then, I talked to Fritz about when he thought he would transfer 
the prisoner, and he didn't think it was a good idea to transfer 
him at night because of the fact you couldn't see, and if anybody 
tried to cause them any trouble, they needed to see who they were 
and where it was coming from and so forth, and he suggested 
that we wait until daylight, so this was normal procedure, I mean, 
for Fritz to determine when he is going to transfer his prisoners, 
so I told him "Okay." I asked him, I said, "^Vhat time do you 
think you will be ready tomorrow?" And he didn't know ex- 
actly and I said, "Do you think about 10 o'clock," and he said, "I 
believe so," and then is when I went out and told the newspaper 
people * * * "I believe if you are back here by 10 o'clock you 
will be back in time to observe anything you care to observe." ®^ 

During the night, between 2 :30 and 3 a.m., the local office of the 
FBI and the sheriff's office received telephone calls from an uniden- 
tified man who warned that a committee had decided "to kill the man 
that killed the President." Shortly after, an FBI agent notified 
the Dallas police of the anonymous threat. The police department 
and ultimately Chief Curry were informed of both threats.^^ 

Immediately after his arrival at the building on Sunday morning 
between 8 :30 and 8 :45 a.m.. Curry spoke by telephone with Sheriff 
J. E. Decker about the transfer. When Decker indicated that he 
would leave to Curry the decision on whether the sheriff's office or 
the police would move Oswald, Curry decided that the police would 
handle it because "we had so much involved here, we were the ones 
that were investigating the case and we had the officers set up down- 
stairs to handle it." 

After talking with Decker, Curry began to discuss plans for the 
transfer. With the threats against Oswald in mind. Curry suggested 
to Batchelor and Deputy Chief Stevenson that Oswald be transported 
to the county jail in an armored truck, to which they agreed. While 
Batchelor made arrangements to have an armored truck brought to 
the building, Curry and Stevenson tentatively agreed on the route the 
armored truck would follow from the building to the county jail.^°° 


Curry decided that Oswald would leave the building via the base- 
ment. He stated later that he reached this decision shortly after his 
arrival at the police building Sunday morning, when members of the 
press had already begun to gather in the basement. There is no evi- 
dence that anyone opposed this decision.^^^ Two members of the 
Dallas police did suggest to Captain Fritz that Oswald be taken from 
the building by another exit, leaving the press "waiting in the base- 
ment and on Conmierce Street, and we could be to the county jail 
before anyone knew what was taking place." However, Fritz 
said that he did not think Curry would agree to such a plan because 
he had promised that Oswald would be transferred at a time when 
newsmen could take pictures.^''^ Forrest Sorrels also suggested to 
Fritz that Oswald be moved at an unannounced time when no one 
was around, but Fritz again responded that Curry "wanted to go 
along with the press and not try to put anything over on them." 

Preliminary arrangements to obtain additional personnel to assist 
with the transfer were begim Saturday evening. On Saturday night, 
the police reserves were requested to provide 8 to 10 men on Sunday, 
and additional reservists were sought in the morning.^°^ Capt. C. E. 
Talbert, who was in charge of the patrol division for the city of Dallas 
on the morning of November 24, retained a small number of policemen 
in the building when he took charge that morning and later ordered 
other patrolmen from several districts to report to the basement."'^ 
At about 9 a.m. Deputy Chief Stevenson instructed all detectives 
within the building to remain for the transfer.^^^ Sheriff Decker 
testified that his men were ready to receive Oswald at the county jail 
from the early hours of Sunday moming.^^^ 

With the patrolmen and reserve policemen available to him. Cap- 
tain Talbert, on his own initiative, undertook to secure the basement 
of the police department building. He placed policemen outside the 
building at the top of the Commerce Street ramp to keep all spectators 
on the opposite side of Commerce Street. Later, Talbert directed 
that patrolmen be assigned to all street intersections the transfer 
vehicle would cross along the route to the county jail.^^^ His most 
significant security precautions, however, were steps designed to ex- 
clude unauthorized persons from the basement area. 

The spacious basement of the Police and Courts Building contains, 
among other things, the jail office and the police garage. (See Com- 
mission Exhibit No. 2179, p. 211.) The jail office, into which the jail 
elevator opens, is situated on the west side of an auto ramp cutting 
across the length of the basement from Main Street, on the north 
side of the building, to Commerce Street, on the south side. From the 
foot of this ramp, on the east side, midway through the basement, a 
decline runs down a short distance to the L-shaped police garage. In 
addition to the auto ramp, five doors to the garage provide access to 
the basement from the Police and Courts Building on the west side of 
the garage and the attached Municipal Building on the east. Three 
of these five doors provide access to three elevators opening into the 
garage, two for passengers near the central part of the garage and 





one for service at the east end of the garage. A fourth door near 
the passenger elevator opens into the municipal building; the fifth 
door, at the Commerce Street side of the garage, opens into a sub- 
basement that is connected with both buildings."^ 

Shortly after 9 o'clock Sunday morning, policemen cleared the base- 
ment of all but police personnel. Guards were stationed at the top 
of the Main and Commerce Streets auto ramps leading down into the 
basement, at each of the five doorways into the garage, and at the 
double doors leading to the public hallway adjacent to the jail office. 
Then, Sgt. Patrick T. Dean, acting under instructions from 
Talbert, directed 14 men in a search of the garage. Maintenance 
workers were directed to leave the area. The searchers examined the 
rafters, tops of air conditioning ducts, and every closet and room 
opening off the garage. They searched the interior and trunk com- 
partment of automobiles parked in the garage. The two passenger 
elevators in the central part of the garage were not in service and 
the doors were shut and locked; the service elevator was moved to 
the first floor, and the operator was instructed not to return it to the 

Despite the thoroughness with which the search was conducted, 
there still existed one and perhaps two weak points in controlling 
access to the garage. Testimony did not resolve positively whether or 
not the stairway door near the public elevators was locked both from 
the inside and outside as was necessary to secure it effectively. And 
although guards were stationed near the double doors, the hallway 
near the jail office was accessible to people from inside the Police and 
Courts Building without the necessity of presenting identification. 
Until seconds before Oswald was shot, newsmen hurrying to photo- 
graph Oswald were able to run without challenge through those doors 
into the basement. 

After the search had been completed, the police allowed news rep- 
resentatives to reenter the basement area and gather along the entrance 
to the garage on the east side of the ramp. Later, the police per- 
mitted the newsmen to stand in front of the railing on the east side 
of the ramp leading to Main Street. The policemen deployed by 
Talbert and Dean had instructions to allow no one but identified 
news media representatives into the basement. As before, the police 
accepted any credentials that appeared authentic, though some officers 
did make special efforts to check for pictures and other forms of 
corroborating identification. Many newsmen reported that they were 
checked on more than one occasion while they waited in the basement. 
A small number did not recall that their credentials were ever 

Shortly after his arrival on Sunday morning. Chief Curry issued 
instructions to keep reporters and cameramen out of the jail office 
and to keep television equipment behind the railing separating the 
basement auto ramp from the garage. Curry observed that in other 
respects Captain Talbert appeared to have security measures in hand 
and allowed him to proceed on his own initiative. Batchelor and 



Stevenson checked progress in the basement during the course of 
the morning, and the officials were generally satisfied with the steps 
Talbert had taken."^ 

At about 11 a.m., Deputy Chief Stevenson requested that C'apt. O. A. 
Jones of the forgery bureau bring all available detectives from the 
third floor offices to the basement. Jones instructed the detectives 
who accompanied him to the basement to line the walls on either 
side of the passageway cleared for the transfer party.^^^ According 
to Detective T. D. McMillon, 

* * * Captain Jones explained to us that, when they brought the 
prisoner out, that he wanted two lines formed and we were to keep 
these two lines formed, you know, a barrier on either side of 
them, kind of an aisle * * * for them to walk through, and 
when they came down this aisle, we were to keep this line intact 
and move along with them until the man was placed in the car.^^^ 

With Assistant Chief Batchelor's permission, Jones removed pho- 
tographers who had gathered once again in the basement jail office. 
Jones recalled that he instructed all newsmen along the Main Street 
ramp to remain behind an imaginary line extending from the south- 
east comer of the jail office to the railing on the east side of the ramp ; 
other officers recalled that Jones directed the newsmen to move away 
from the foot of the Main Street ramp and to line up against the east 
railing. In any event, newsmen were allowed to congregate along the 
foot of the ramp after Batchelor observed that there was insufficient 
room along the east of the ramp to permit all the news representatives 
to see Oswald as he was brought out.^^® 

By the time Oswald reached the basement, 40 to 50 newsmen and TO 
to 75 police officers were assembled there. Three television cameras 
stood along the railing and most of the newsmen were congregated in 
that area and at the top of the adjacent decline leading into the garage. 
A group of newsmen and police officers, best estimated at about 20, 
stood strung across the bottom of the Main Street ramp. Along the 
south wall of the passageway outside the jail office door were about 
eight detectives, and three detectives lined the north wall. Two 
officers stood in front of the double doors leading into the passageway 
from the corridor next to the jail office."^ (See Commission Exhibit 
No. 2634, p. 214.) 

Beginning Saturday night, the public had been kept informed of 
the approximate time of the transfer. At approximately 10 :20 a.m. 
Curry told a press conference that Oswald would be moved in an 
armored truck and gave a general description of other security pre- 
cautions.^20 Apparently no newsmen were informed of the transfer 
route, however, and the route was not disclosed to the driver of the 
armored truck until the truck arrived at the Commerce Street exit at 
about 11 :07 a.m.^^^ When they learned of its arrival, many of the re- 
maining newsmen who had waited on the third floor descended to the 
basement. Shortly after, newsmen may have had another indication 


Commission Exhibit No. 2634 

Scene in areaway outside jail oflace immediately before shooting 
( Sunday, November 24) . 


i it 

that the transfer was imminent if they caught a glimpse through the 
glass windows of Oswald putting on a sweater in Captain Fritz' 

Because the driver feared that the truck might stall if it had to 
start from the bottom of the ramp and because the overhead clearance 
appeared to be inadequate, Assistant Chief Batchelor had it backed 
only into the entranceway at the top of the ramp. Batchelor and 
others tlien inspected the inside of the truck.^^^ 

When Chief Curry learned that the truck had arrived, he informed 
Captain Fritz that security controls were in effect and inquired how 
long the questioning of Oswald would continue. At this point, Fritz 
learned for the first time of the plan to convey Oswald by armored 
truck and immediately expressed his disapproval. He urged the use 
of an unmarked police car driven by a police officer, pointing out that 
this would be better from the standpoint of both speed and maneuver- 
ability. Curry agreed to Fritz' plan; the armored truck would be 
used as a decoy. They decided that the armored truck would leave 
the ramp first, followed by a car which would contain only security 
officers. A police car bearing Oswald would follow. After proceed- 
ing one block, the car with Oswald would turn off and proceed directly 
to the county jail ; the armored truck would follow a lead car to the 
jail along the previously agreed upon and more circuitous route.^^* 

Captain Fritz instructed Detectives C. W. Brown and C. N. 
Dhority and a third detective to proceed to the garage and move the 
iollowup car and the transfer car into place on the auto ramp. He 
told Lt. Rio S. Pierce to obtain another automobile from the basement 
and take up a lead position on Commerce Street.^^^ Deputy Chief 
Stevenson went back to the basement to inform Batchelor and Jones 
of the change in plans.^^^ Oswald was given his sweater, and then 
his right hand was handcuffed tp the left hand of Detective J. R. 
Leavelle.^2^ Detective T. L. Baker called the jail office to check on 
security precautions in the basement and notify officials that the 
prisoner was being brought down.^^^ 

On arriving in the basement. Pierce asked Sgts. J ames A. Putnam 
and Billy Joe Maxey to accompany him in the lead car. Since the 
armored truck was blocking the Commerce Street ramp, it would be 
necessary to drive out the Main Street ramp and circle the block to 
Commerce Street. Maxey sat on the back seat of Pierce's car, and 
Putnam helped clear a path through reporters on the ramp so that 
Pierce could drive up toward Main Street. When the oar passed by 
the reporters at about 11 :20 a.m., Putnam entered the car on the right 
front side. Pierce drove to the top of the Main Street ramp and 
slowed momentarily as Patrolman Roy E. Vaughn stepped from his 
position at the top of the ramp toward the street to watch for traffic.^^ 
After Pierce's car left the garage area, Brown drove another police 
car out of the garage, moved part way up the Commerce Street ramp, 
j and began to back down intO' position to receive Oswald. Dhority 
also proceeded to drive the followup car into position ahead of 
1 Brown.^^^ 


'< 215 

As Pierce's car started up the ramp at about 11 :20 a.m., Oswald, 
accompanied by Captain Fritz and four detectives, arrived at the jail 
office. Cameramen in the hallway of the basement took pictures of 
Oswald through the interior glass windows of the jail office as he 
was led through the office to the exit.^^^ Some of these cameramen 
then ran through the double doors near the jail office and squeezed into 
the line which had formed across the Main Street ramp."^ Still 
others remained just inside the double doors or proceeded through the 
double doors after Oswald and his escort emerged from the jail 
office.^33 (See Commission Exhibit No. 2177, p. 217.) 

When Fritz came to the jail office door, he asked if everything was 
ready, and a detective standing in the passageway answered yes.^^* 
Someone shouted, "Here he comes !" ; additional spotlights were turned 
on in the basement, and the din increased. A detective stepped from 
the jail office and proceeded toward the transfer car. Seconds later 
Fritz and then Oswald, with Detective Leavelle at his right. Detec- 
tive L. C. Graves at his left, and Detective L. D. Montgomery at his 
rear, came through the door. Fritz walked to Brown's car, which 
had not yet backed fully into position; Oswald followed a few feet 
behind. Newsmen near the double door moved forward after him.^^^ 
Though movie films and video tapes indicate that the front line of 
newsmen along the Main Street ramp remained fairly stationary, 
it was the impression of many who were close to the scene that with 
Oswald's appearance the crowd surged forward. According to De- 
tective Montgomery, who was walking directly behind Oswald, "as 
soon as we came out this door * * * this bunch here just moved in on 
us." To Detective B. H. Combest, standing on the Commerce 
Street side of the passageway from the jail office door, it appeared 

Almost the whole line of people pushed forward when Oswald 
started to leave the jail office, the door, the hall — all the newsmen 
were poking their sound mikes across to him and asking ques- 
tions, and they were everyone sticking their flashbulbs up and 
around and over him and in his f ace.^^^ 

After Oswald had moved about 10 feet from the door of the jail office. 
Jack Ruby passed between a newsman and a detective at the edge 
of the straining crowd on the Main Street ramp. With his right 
hand extended and holding a .38 caliber revolver. Ruby stepped 
quickly forward and fired a single fatal bullet into Oswald's 
abdomen.i3« (See Commission Exhibit No. 2636, p. 218.) 



The killing of Lee Harvey Oswald in the basement of police head- 
quarters in the midst of more than 70 police officers gave rise to im- 






Commission Exhibit No. 2177 


730-900 0-64— 16 


Commission ExMbit 

Commission Exhibit No. 2636 
Ruby shooting Oswald ( Sunday, November 24) . 

mediate speculation that one or more members of the police depart- 
ment provided Jack Ruby assistance which had enabled him to enter 
the basement and approach within a few feet of the accused Presiden- 
tial assassin. In chapter VI, the Commission has considered whether 
there is any evidence linking Jack Ruby with a conspiracy to kill the 
President. At this point, however, it is appropriate to consider 
whether there is evidence that Jack Ruby received assistance from 
Dallas policemen or others in gaining access to the basement on the 
morning of November 24. An affirmative answer would require that 
the evidence be evaluated for possible connection with the assassina- 
tion itself. While the Commission has found no evidence that Ruby 
received assistance from any person in entering the basement, his 
means of entry is significant in evaluating the adequacy of the pre- 
cautions taken to protect Oswald. 

Although more than a hundred policemen and newsmen were present 
in the basement of police headquarters during the 10 minutes before 
the shooting of Oswald, none has been found who definitely observed 
Jack Ruby's entry into the basement. After considering all the evi- 
dence, the Commission has concluded that Ruby entered the basement 
unaided, probably via the Main Street ramp, and no more than 3 
minutes before the shooting of Oswald. 

Ruby's account of how he entered the basement by the Main Street 
ramp merits consideration in determining his means of entry. Three 
Dallas policemen testified that approximately 30 minutes after his 
arrest. Ruby told them that he had walked to the top of the Main 
Street ramp from the nearby Western Union office and that he walked 
down the ramp at the time the police car driven by Lieutenant Pierce 
emerged into Main Street.^^® This information did not come to light 
immediately because the policemen did not report it to their superiors 
until some days later.^**^ Ruby refused to discuss his means of entry 
in interrogations with other investigators later on the day of his 
arrest.^*^ Thereafter, in a lengthy interview on December 21 and in 
a sworn deposition taken after his trial. Ruby gave the same explana- 
tion he had given to the three policemen.^*^ 

The Commission has been able to establish with precision the time 
of certain events leading up to the shooting. Minutes before Oswald 
appeared in the basement. Ruby was in the Western Union office 
located on the same block of Main Street some 350 feet from the top 
of the Main Street ramp. The time stamp on a money order which 
he sent and on the receipt found in his pocket establish that the order 
was accepted for transmission at almost exactly 11:17 a.m. Ruby 
was then observed to depart the office walking in the direction of the 
police building.^^3 Video tapes taken without interruption before the 
shooting establish that Lieutenant Pierce's car cleared the crowd at 
the foot of the ramp 55 seconds before the shooting. They also show 
Ruby standing at the foot of the ramp on the Main Street side before 
the shooting.i** (See Commission Exhibit No. 2635, p. 220.) The 
shooting occurred very close to 11 :21 a.m. This time has been estab- 
lished by observing the time on a clock appearing in motion pictures 


Comndssion Exhibit No. 2635 

Commission Exhibit No. 2635 
Ruby in basement (extreme right) immediately before shooting (Sunday, November 24). 


of Oswald in the basement jail office, and by records giving the time 
of Oswald's departure from the city jail and the time at which an 
ambulance was summoned for Oswald.^*^ 

The Main Street ramp provided the most direct route to the base- 
ment from the Western Union office. At normal stride, it requires 
approximately 1 minute to walk from that office to the top of the 
Main Street ramp and about 20-25 seconds to descend the ramp.^*^ 
It is certain, therefore, that Ruby entered the basement no more than 
2-3 minutes before the shooting. This timetable indicates that a 
little more than 2 of the 4 minutes between Ruby's departure from 
the Western Union office and the time of the shooting are unaccounted 
for. Ruby could have consumed this time in loitering along the way, 
at the top of the ramp, or inside the basement. However, if Ruby is 
correct that he passed Pierce's car at the top of the ramp, he could 
have been in the basement no more than 30 seconds before the 

The testimony of two witnesses partially corroborates Ruby's claim 
that he entered by the Main Street ramp. James Turner, an employee 
of WBAP-TV Fort Worth, testified that while he was standing near 
the railing on the east side of the Main Street ramp, perhaps 30 sec- 
onds before the shooting, he observed a man he is confident was Jack 
Ruby moving slowly down the Main Street ramp about 10 feet from 
the bottom.^*^ Two other witnesses testified that they thought they 
had seen Ruby on the Main Street side of the ramp before the 

One other witness has testified regarding the purported movements 
of a man on the Main Street ramp, but his testimony merits little 
credence. A former police officer, N". J. Daniels, who was standing 
at the top of the ramp with the single patrolman guarding this en- 
trance, R. E. Vaughn, testified that "3 or 4 minutes, I guess" before 
the shooting, a man walked down the Main Street ramp in full view 
of Vaughn but was not stopped or questioned by the officer. Daniels 
did not identify the man as Ruby. Moreover, he gave a description 
which differed in important respects from Ruby's appearance on 
November 24, and he has testified that he doesn't think the man was 
Ruby.^^^ On November 24, Vaughn telephoned Daniels to^ ask him 
if he had seen anybody walk past him on the morning of the 24th 
and was told that he had not; it was not until November 29 that 

Daniels came forward with the statement that he had seen a man 

Although the sum of this evidence tends to support Ruby's claim 
that he entered by the Main Street ramp, there is other evidence not 
fully consistent with Ruby's story. Patrolman Vaughn stated that 
he checked the credentials of all unknown persons seeking to enter 
the basement, and his testimony was supported by several persons.^^^ 
Vaughn denied that the emergence of Lieutenant Pierce's car from 
the building distracted him long enough to allow Ruby to enter the 
ramp unnoticed, and neither he nor any of the three officers in Lieu- 
tenant Pierce's car saw Ruby enter.^^* 


Despite Vaughn's denial the Commission has found no credible evi- 
dence to support any other entry route. Two Dallas detectives be- 
lieved they observ^ed three men pushing a WBAP-TV camera into the 
basement minutes before the shooting, while only two were with the 
camera after Oswald had been shot.^'^'^ However, films taken in the 
basement show the WBAP-TV camera being pushed past the detec- 
tives by only two men.^^^ The suspicion of the detectives is probably 
explained by testimony that a third '\^^AP-TV employee ran to help 
steady the incoming camera as it entered the basement, probably just 
before the camera became visible on the films.^^^ Moreover, since the 
camera entered the basement close to 4 minutes before the shooting,^^^ 
it is virtually impossible that Ruby could have been in the basement 
at that time. 

The possibility that Ruby entered the basement by some other route 
has been investigated, but the Commission has found no evidence to 
support it. Ruby could have walked from the Western Union office 
to the Cortimerce Street ramp on the other side of the building in about 
214 minutes.^^^ However, during the minutes preceding the shooting 
video tapes show the armored truck in the entranceway to this ramp 
with only narrow clearance on either side. (See Commission Exhibit 
No. 2710, p. 223.) Several policemen were standing near the truck 
and a large crowd of spectators was gathered across the street. It 
is improbable that Ruby could have squeezed past the truck without 
having been observed. If Ruby entered by any other means, he would 
have had to pass first through the Police and Courts Building or the 
attached Municipal Building, and then secondly through one of the 
five doors into the basement, all of which, according to the testimony 
of police officers, were secured. The testimony was not completely 
positive about one of the doors.^^^ 

There is no evidence to support the speculations that Ruby used 
a press badge to gain entry to the basement or that he concealed him- 
self in a police car. Police found no form of press card on Ruby's 
person after his apprehension, nor any discarded badges within the 
basement.^^2 There is no evidence that any police officer admitted 
Ruby on the pretense that he was a member of the press or any other 

Police vehicles in the basement were inspected during the course 
of the search supervised by Sergeant Dean.^^* According to Patrol- 
man Vaughn, the only vehicles that entered the basement while he 
was at the top of the Main Street ramp were two patrol cars, one of 
which entered twice, and a patrol wagon which was searched by an- 
other policeman after it entered the basement. All entered on official 
police business and considerably more than 4 minutes before Oswald 
was shot.^^^ None of the witnesses at the top of the Main Street ramp 
recalled any police car entering the basement in the 4-minute period 
after Ruby left the Western Union office and preceding the shooting.^®® 
The possibility that Ruby could have entered the basement in a car 
may therefore be completely discounted. 


Commission Exhibit No. 2710 


The Dallas Police Department, concerned at the failure of its 
security measures, conducted an extensive investigation that revealed 
no information indicating complicity between any police officer and 
Jack Kuby.^^^ Kuby denied to the Commission that he received any 
form of assistance/^ The FBI interviewed every member of the 
police department who was on duty in the basement on November 24, 
and Commission staff members took sworn depositions from many. 
With few exceptions, newsmen who were present in the basement at 
the time also gave statements and/or depositions. As the record be- 
fore the Commission indicated. Ruby had had rather free access to the 
Dallas police quarters during the period subsequent to the assassina- 
tion, but there was no evidence that implicated the police or newsmen 
in Ruby's actions on that day .^^^ 

Ruby was known to have a wide acquaintanceship with Dallas 
policemen and to seek their favor. According to testimony from 
many sources, he gave free coffee at his clubs to many policemen 
while they were on duty and free admittance and discounts on bev- 
erages when they were off duty.^'^ Although Chief Curry's estimate 
that approximately 25 to 50 of the 1,175 men in the Dallas Police 
Department knew Rub}^ ^'^ may be too conservative, the Commission 
found no evidence of any suspicious relationships between Ruby and 
any police officer. 

The Commission found no substantial evidence that any member of 
the Dallas Police Department recognized J ack Ruby as an imauthor- 
ized person in the basement prior to the time Sgt. P. T. Dean, according 
to his testimony, saw Ruby dart forward toward Oswald. But Dean 
was then part way up the Commerce Street ramp, too far removed to 
act.^^2 Patrolman W. J. Harrison, Capt. Glen King, and reserve 
officers Capt. C. O. Amett and Patrolman W. M. Croy were among 
those in front of Ruby at the time Dean saw him. They all faced 
away from Ruby, toward the jail office.^^^ Video tapes show that 
Harrison turned in the direction of the ramp at the time Lieutenant 
Pierce's car passed, and once again 25 seconds later, but there is no 
indication that he observed or recognized Ruby.^^* The policemen 
standing on the south side of the passageway from the jail office, who 
might have been lookmg in Ruby's direction, had the glare of tele- 
vision and photographer's lights in their eyes.^^^ 

The Commission also considered the possibility that a member of 
the police department called Ruby at his apartment and informed 
him, either intentionally or unintentionally, of the time of the 
planned transfer. From at least 10:19 a.m., until close to 11 a.m., 
on Sunday, Ruby was at his apartment,^^^ where he could have received 
a call that the transfer was imminent. He apparently left his apart- 
ment between 10 :45 and 11 a.m.^^^ However, the drive from Ruby's 
apartment to the Western Union office takes approximately 15 min- 
utes.^^^ Since the time of the contemplated transfer could not 
have been known to anyone until a few minutes before 11 :15 
a.m., a precise time could not have been conveyed to Ruby while he 
was at his apartment. Moreover, the television and radio publicized 


the transfer plans throughout the morning, obviating the need for 
Kuby to obtain information surreptitiously. 


The shooting of Lee Harvey Oswald obviously resulted from the fail- 
ure of the security precautions which the Dallas Police Department had 
taken to protect their prisoner. In assessing the causes of the security 
failure, the Commission has not overlooked the extraordinary circum- 
stances which prevailed during the days that the attention of the 
world was turned on Dallas. Confronted with a unique situation, the 
Dallas police took special security measures to insure Oswald's safety. 
Unfortunately these did not include adequate control of the great 
crowd of newsmen that inundated the police department building. 

The Dallas police had in custody a man whose alleged act had 
brought upon him immediate and universal opprobrium. There were 
many possible reasons why people might have attempted to kill him 
if given the opportunity. Concerned that there might be an attempt 
on Oswald's life, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover sent a message to 
Chief Curry on November 22 through Special Agent Manning C. 
Clements of the FBI's Dallas office, urging that Oswald be afforded the 
utmost security. Curry does not recall receiving the message.^^^ 

Although the presence of a great mass of press representatives 
created an extraordinary security problem in the building, the police 
department pursued its normal policy of admitting the press. That 
policy, set forth in General Order No. 81 of the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment, provided — 

* * * that members of this Department render every assistance, 
except such as obviously may seriously hinder or delay the proper 
functioning of the Department, to the accredited members of 
the official news-gathering agencies and this includes newspaper, 
television cameramen and news-reel photographers.^^° 

In a letter to all members of the police department, dated February 7, 
1963, Chief Curry explained the general order, in part, as follows : 

The General Order covering this subject is not merely permis- 
sive. It does not state that the Officer may, if he so chooses, assist 
the press. It rather places on him a responsibility to lend active 

* * * 4: * * 

* * * as a Department we deal with public affairs. It is the 
right of the public to know about these affairs, and one of the 
most accurate and useful avenues we have of supplying this infor- 
mation is through the newspapers and radio and television 

Implied in the General Order is a prohibition for the Officer to 
improperly attempt to interfere with the news media representa- 


tive, who is functioning in his capacity as such. Such activity 
on the part of any Police Officer is regarded by the press as 
an infringement of rights, and the Department shares this 

Under this policy, news representatives ordinarily had access 
to the Police and Courts Building. The first newsmen to arrive on 
Friday afternoon were admitted in accordance with the policy ; others 
who came later simply followed behind them. Shortly after Oswald 
arrived, Captain King granted permission to bring television cameras 
to the third floor.^^^ ' By the time the unwieldy proportions of the 
crowd of newsmen became apparent, it had already become well en- 
trenched on the third floor. No one suggested reversing the depart- 
ment's policy expressed in General Order No. 81. Chief Curry testi- 
fied that at no time did he consider clearing the crowd from the 
building ; he "saw no particular harm in allowing the media to observe 
the prisoner." Captain King later stated candidly that he simply 
became "accustomed to the idea of them being out there." 

The general policy of the Dallas police recognized that the rule of 
full cooperation did not apply when it might jeopardize an investiga- 
tion.^®^ In retrospect, most members of the department believed that 
the general rule allowing admittance of the press to the police quarters 
should not have been followed after the assassination. Few, if any, 
thought this at the time.^®^ By failing to exclude the press from the 
building on Friday and Saturday, the Dallas police made it possible 
for the uncontrolled crowd to nearly surround Oswald on the frequent 
occasions that he moved through the third floor corridor. The decision 
to allow newsmen to observe the transfer on Sunday followed naturally 
the policy established during these first 2 days of Oswald's detention. 

The reporters and cameramen descended upon the third floor of 
the Police and Courts Building in such numbers that the pressroom on 
the third floor proved wholly inadequate. Eather than the "two or 
three or maybe a half dozen reporters" who normally appeared to 
cover local police stpries,^®^ the police were faced with upward of 100. 
Bringing with them cameras, microphones, cables, and spotlights, the 
newsmen inevitably spilled over into areas where they interfered with 
the transaction of police business and the maintenance of security.^®® 

Aside from numbers, the gathering of reporters presented a problem 
because most of them were representatives of the national and foreign 
press, rather than the local press.^®^ These newsmen carried indi- 
vidual press cards rather than identification cards issued by the 
Dallas police. Therefore, it was impossible for the police to verify 
quickly the identity of this great number of unfamiliar people who 
appeared almost simultaneously.^^^ Because of the close physical 
pr,oximity of the milling mass of insistent newsmen to the prisoner, 
the failure to authenticate press credentials subjected the prisoner 
to a serious security risk. 

Although steps were taken on Friday afternoon to insure that per- 
sons seeking entry to the third floor were there for a legitimate pur- 


pose, reasons could be fabricated. Moreover, because pf the large 
crowd, it was easier for unauthorized persons to slip by those guard- 
ing the entrances. Jack Ruby, for one, was able to gain entry to the 
third-floor corridor on Friday night.^^^ 

The third-floor corridor provided the only passageway between the 
homicide and robbery bureau and the jail elevator. No thought seems 
to have been given, however, to the possibility ,of questioning Oswald 
on some other floor.^^^ Moreover, Osw^ald's most extended exposure 
to the press, at the Friday evening press conference, was unrelated to 
any phase of the investigation and was motivated primarily by the 
desire to satisfy the demands of the news media to see the prisoner.^^^ 
The risks attendant upon this appearance were emphasized by the 
presence of unauthorized persons, including J ack Ruby, at the press 
conference in the basement assembly room.^^* 

Although Oswald was repeatedly exposed to possible assaults on 
Friday and Saturday, he met his death on Sunday, when police took 
the most extensive security precautions. The assembly of more than 
TO police officers, some of them armed with tear gas, and the contem- 
plated use of an armored truck, appear to have been designed pri- 
marily to repel an attempt of a mob to seize the prisoner. Chief 
Curry's own testimony indicated that such a focus resulted not from 
any appraisal of the varied risks to Oswald's life but came about in 
response to the telephone threat Sunday morning that a hundred 
men were going to attack Oswald.^^® 

A more balanced appraisal would have given thought to protection 
against any attack. For example, the acceptance of inadequate press 
credentials posed a clear avenue for a one-man assault. The likeli- 
hood of an unauthorized person obtaining entry by such means is 
confirmed not alone by the fact that Jack Ruby managed to get by 
a guard at one entrance. Several newsmen related that their cre- 
dentials were not checked as they entered the basement Sunday morn- 
ing. Seconds before Oswald was shot, the double doors from the 
hallway next to the jail office afforded a means of entry to the basement 
without presentation of credentials earlier demanded of newsmen.^^^ 

The swarm of newspeople in the basement also substantially limited 
the ability of the police to detect an unauthorized person once he 
had entered the basement. While Jack Ruby might have been easily 
spotted if only police officers had been in the basement,^®* he remained 
apparently unnoticed in the crowd of newsmen until he lunged for- 
ward toward Oswald. The near-blinding television and motion pic- 
ture lights which were allowed to shine upon the escort party further 
increased the difficulty of observing unusual movements in the base- 

Moreover, by making public the plans for the transfer, the police 
attracted to the city jail many persons who otherwise might not have 
learned of the move until it had been completed. This group in- 
cluded the onlookers gathered on Conunerce Street and a few people 
on Main Street. Also, continuous television and radio coverage of 


the activities in the basement might have resulted in compromise of 
the transfer operation. 

These risks to Oswald's safety, growing in part out of adherence 
to the general policy of the police department, were also accepted 
for other reasons. Many members of the police department believed 
that the extraordinary public attention aroused by the tragic death of 
President Kennedy obliged them to make special efforts to accom- 
modate the press. Captain King carefully articulated one reason 
why the newsmen were permitted 

* * * to remain in the hallways, * * * to view the investigation 
and to keep in constant touch with progress of the investigation. 

* * * * * 4: 

We realized that if we arrested a suspect, that if we brought 
him into the police station and then conducted all of our investi- 
gations behind closed doors, that if we gave no reports on the 
progress of our investigation and did not permit the newsmen 
to see the suspect — if we excluded them from it — we would leave 
ourselves open not only to criticisms that we were fabricating 
a suspect and were attempting to pin something on someone, but 
even more importantly, we would cause people to lose faith in 
our fairness and, through losing faith in our fairness, to lose 
faith to a certain extent in the processes of law. 

We felt it was mandatory that as many people knew about it as 
possible. We knew, too, that if we did exclude the newsmen, we 
would be leaving ourselves open to a charge that we were using 
improper action, duress, physical abuse, all of these things.^®^ 

While Oswald was in custody, the Dallas police kept the press 
informed about the treatment Oswald was receiving. The public 
could have been assured that the prisoner was not mistreated and 
that his rights were fully respected by the police, without each one of 
hundreds of cameramen and reporters being permitted to satisfy 
himself that the police had not abused the prisoner. This result could 
have been accomplished by obtaining reports from members of the 
family who visited him, or by a committee of the bar or other sub- 
stantial citizens of the community. When it became known on Sat- 
urday that Oswald did not have an attorney, the president of the 
Dallas Bar Association visited him to inquire whether he wished 
assistance in obtaining coimsel.^^ 

Moreover, the right of the public to know does not give the press 
license to interfere with the efficient operation of law-enforcement 
agencies. Permitting the press to remain on the third floor of the 
building served no valid purpose that could not have been met if the 
press had been excluded from the third floor, as it was from the fourth 
and fifth floors, and informed of developments either through press 
releases or at press conferences elsewhere in the building. 

Having failed to exclude the mass of the press from the basement 
during the transfer of Oswald, the police department's security meas- 


ures could not be completely effective. Despite the pressures that 
prevailed, planning and coordination of security arrangements could 
have been more thorough and precise. No single member of the 
Dallas Police Department ever assumed full responsibility for the 
details of Oswald's transfer.^^^ Chief Curry participated in some 
of the planning, but he felt that primary authority for the transfer 
should be Fritz', since Fritz had charge of the investigation. Accord- 
ing to Chief Curry — 

Fritz and I, I think, discussed this briefly, the possibility of 
getting that prisoner out of the city hall during the night hours 
and by another route and slipping him to the jail, but actually 
Fritz was not too much in favor of this and I more or less left 
this up to Fritz as to when and how this transfer would be made, 
because he has in the past transferred many of his prisoners to 
the county jail and I felt that since it was his responsibility, the 
prisoner was, to let him decide when and how he wanted to trans- 
fer this prisoner. 

Fritz, on the other hand, felt that Curry was directing the transfer 
arrangements : "I was transferring him like the chief told me to trans- 
fer him." When Capt. W. B. Frazier notified Fritz by telephone 
early Sunday morning about the threats to Oswald's life, Fritz re- 
plied that Curry should be notified, since he was handling the trans- 
fej. 204 ^\^en urged to modify the transfer plans to avoid the press, 
as he later testified he would have preferred to do, Fritz declined on 
the ground that Curry had already decided to the contrary.^^^ 
Hence, if the recollection of both officials is accurate, the basic deci- 
sion to move Oswald at an announced time and in the presence of the 
news media was never carefully thought through by either man. 
Curry and Fritz had agreed Saturday evening that Oswald should 
not be moved at night, but their discussion apparently went little 

Perhaps the members of the Dallas Police Department were, as 
many testified, accustomed to working together so that formal instruc- 
tions were sometimes unnecessary. On the other hand, it is clear, 
at least in retrospect, that this particular occasion demanded more 
than the usual informal unspoken understandings. The e^ddence indi- 
cates that no member of the department at any time considered fully 
the implications of moving Oswald through the basement. Nor did 
any single official or group of officials coordinate and direct where 
the transfer vehicle would be stationed to accept Oswald, where the 
press would stand, and the number and positioning of police officers 
in the basement. Captain Jones indicated that there were to be two 
solid lines of policemen from the jail office door to the transfer ve- 
hicle,2°^ but lines were formed only along the walls of the areaway 
between the jail office door and the ramp. The newsmen were not 
kept east of the auto ramp where a railing would have separated 


them from Oswald. No strong ranks of policemen were ever placed 
in front of the newsmen once they were allowed to gather in the area 
of the Main Street ramp.^''^ Many policemen in the basement did 
not know the function they were supposed to perform. No in- 
structions were given that certain policemen should watch the crowd 
rather than Oswald.^^^ Apparently no one gave any thought to the 
blinding effect of television and other camera lights upon the escort 

Largely on his own initiative, Captain Talbert undertook to secure 
the basement, with only minimal coordination with those responsible 
for and familiar with the route Oswald would take through the base- 
ment. Several officials recalled that Lt. Woodrow Wiggins was 
directed to clear the basement jail office, but Wiggins testified that 
he received no such assignment.^^^ In any event, less than 20 minutes 
before the transfer. Captain Jones observed newsmen in the jail 
office and had them removed. But no official removed news personnel 
from the corridor beside the jail office; indeed, cameramen took pic- 
tures through the glass windows of the jail office as Oswald walked 
through it toward the basement, and then approached to within 20 
feet of Oswald from the rear at the same time that Jack Euby moved 
toward Oswald from the front.^" 

A clear example of the inadequacy of coordination was the last- 
minute change in plans to transfer Oswald in an immarked police car 
rather than by armored truck.^^^ npj^^ ^\Bji to use an armored vehicle 
was adopted without informing Fritz. When Fritz was told of the 
arrangement shortly after 11 o'clock, he objected, and hurried steps 
were taken to modify the arrangements. Fritz was then prematurely 
informed that the basement arrangements were complete. When 
Oswald and the escorting detectives entered the basement, the trans- 
fer car had not yet been backed into position, nor had the policemen 
been arranged to block the newsmen's access to Oswald's path.^^^ If 
the transfer car had been carefully positioned between the press and 
Oswald, Euby might have been kept several yards from his victim 
and possibly without a clear view of him. Detective Leavelle, who 
accompanied Oswald into the basement, testified : 

* * * I was surprised when I walked to the door and the car was 
not in the spot it should have been, but I could see it was in back, 
and backing into position, but had it been in position where we 
were told it would be, that would have eliminated a lot of the area 
in which anyone would have access to him, because it would have 
been blocked by the car. In fact, if the car had been sitting where 
we were told it was going to be, see — it would have been sitting 
directly upon the spot where Ruby was standing when he fired 
the shot.2" 

Captain Jones described the confusion with which Oswald's entry 
into the basement was in fact received : 


Then the change — agoing to put two cars up there. There is no 
reason why that back car can't get all the way back to the jail 
office. The original plan would be that the line of officers would 
be from the jail door to the vehicle. Then they say, "Here he 
comes." * * * It is too late to get the people out of the way of 
the car and form the line. I am aware that Oswald is already 
coming because of the furor, so, I was trying to keep everybody out 
of the way and keep the way clear and I heard a shot.^^^ 

Therefore, regardless of whether the press should have been allowed 
to witness the transfer, security measures in the basement for Oswald's 
protection could and should have been better organized and more 
thorough. These additional deficiencies were directly related to the 
decision to admit newsmen to the basement. The Commission con- 
cludes that the failure of the police to remove Oswald secretly or to 
control the crowd in the basement at the time of the transfer were the 
major causes of the security breakdown which led to Oswald's death. 


Consistent with its policy of allowing news representatives to re- 
main within the working quarters of the Police and Courts Building, 
the police department made every effort to keep the press fully in- 
formed about the progress of the investigation. As a result, from 
Friday afternoon until after the killing of Oswald on Sunday, the 
press was able to publicize virtually all of the information about the 
case which had been gathered until that time. In the process, a great 
deal of misinformation was disseminated to a worldwide audience. 
(For some examples see app. XII.) 

As administrative assistant to Chief Curry, Captain King also 
handled departmental press relations and issued press releases. Ac- 
cording to King, it was "the responsibility of each member of the 
department to furnish to the press information on incidents in 
which they, themselves, were involved, except on matters which in- 
volved * * * personnel policies of the department, or * * * unless 
it would obviously interfere with an investigation underway." ^® In 
Oswald's case. Chief Curry released most of the information to the 
press. He and Assistant Chief Batchelor agreed on Friday that 
Curry would make all announcements to the press.^^^ However, there 
is no evidence that this decision was ever communicated to the rest of 
the police force. The chief consequence appears to have been that 
Batchelor refrained from making statements to the news media during 
this period. 

Most of the information was disclosed through informal oral state- 
ments or answers to questions at impromptu and clamorous press con- 
ferences in the third floor corridor. Written press releases were not 
employed. The ambulatory press conference became a familiar sight 
during these days. Whenever* Curry or other officials appeared in the 


Commission Exhibit No. 2632 
Press interview with Chief Curry in third floor corridor. 



hallway, newsmen surrounded them, asking questions and requesting 
statements. Usually the officials complied. (See Commission Exhibit 
No. 2632, p. 232.) 

Curry appeared in interviews on television and radio at least a dozen 
times during November 22-24. He did not attend any of the interroga- 
tions of Oswald in Captain Fritz' office except at the beginning and to- 
ward the end of Sunday morning's session ; he received his information 
through Captain Fritz and other sources.^^^ Nevertheless, in sessions 
with the newsmen on Friday and Saturday he gave detailed informa- 
tion on the progress of the case against Oswald. Recorded statements 
of television and radio interviews with Curry and other officials in 
Dallas during November 22-24 have been transcribed and included 
in the record compiled by the Commission.^^^ An example of these 
interviews is the following transcript of remarks made by Curry to 
newsmen on Saturday: 

Q. Chief Curry, I understand you have some new information 
in this case. Could you relate what that is ? 

A. Yes, we've just been informed by the Federal Bureau of 
Investigation, that they, the FBI, have the order letter from 
a mail order house, and the order was sent to their laboratory in 
Washington and the writing on this order was compared with 
known samples of our suspect, Oswald's handwriting and found 
to be the same. 

Q. This order was for the rifle? 

A. This order was for the rifle to a mail order house in Chicago- 
It was [inaudible]. The return address was to Dallas, Texas, to 
the post office box under the name of A. Hidell, H-I-D-E-double L. 
This is the post office box of our suspect. This gun was mailed 
parcel post March 20, 1963. I understand he left Dallas shortly 
after this and didn't come back until I think about two months 

Q. Do you know again on what date this rifle was ordered 
and are you able to link it definitely as the rifle which you con- 
fiscated at the School Book Depository ? 

A. That we have not done so far. If the FBI has been able to 
do it I have not been informed of it yet. We do know that this 
man ordered a rifle of the type that was used in the assassination 
of the President from this mail order house in Chicago and the 
FBI has definitely identified the writing as that of our suspect. 

Q. On another subject — I understand you have photographs 
of the suspect, Oswald, with a rifle like that used. Could you 
describe that picture? 

A. This is the picture of Oswald standing facing a camera 
with a rifle in his hand which is very similar to the rifle that we 
have in our possession. He also had a pistol strapped on his 
hip. He was holding two papers in his hand, with one of them 
seemed to be The Worker and the other says Be Militant— I don't 
know whether that was headlines or the name of the paper. 


730-900 0-64— 17 

Q. How much did the gun cost from the mail order house ? 

A. I understand the gun was advertised for $12.78, I believe. 

Q. Have you received any results on the ballistics test con- 
ducted on the gun and on Oswald ? 

A. They're going to be favorable. I don't have a formal re- 
port yet. 

Q. But you are sure at this time they will be favorable ? 
A. Yes. 

Q. Do you feel now that you have the case completely wrapped 
up, or are you continuing? 

A. We will continue as long as there is a shred of evidence 
to be gathered. We havi^ a strong case at this time. 

Q. I believe you said earlier this afternoon that you have a 
new development which does wrap up the case — the first time you 
said the case definitely is secure. Is that correct ? 

A. That was this morning. This additional evidence just makes 
a stronger case. 

Q. But this is not the same evidence you were referring to then ? 
A. No, that's true. 

Q. Would you be willing to say what that evidence was ? 
A. No, sir. I don't wish to reveal it. It might jeopardize our 

Commentator : Thank you very much Chief Jesse Curry of the 
Dallas Police Department.^^o 

Although Captain Fritz permitted himself to be interviewed by 
the news media less frequently than did Chief Curry, he nevertheless 
answered questions and ventured opinions about the progress of the 
investigation. On Saturday he told reporters that he was convinced 
beyond a doubt that Oswald had killed the President. He discussed 
some of the evidence in the case, especially the rifie, but his contribu- 
tion to the knowledge of the reporters was small compared with that 
of Chief Curry.221 

Many other members of the police department, including high offi- 
cials, detectives, and patrolmen, were also interviewed by news repre- 
sentatives during these days.^^^ Some of these men had participated 
in specific aspects of the case, such as the capture of Oswald at the 
Texas Theatre and the search for evidence at the Texas School Book 
Depository Building. Few, if any, seemed reluctant to submit to 
questions and to being televised. It seemed to District Attorney 
Wade that the newsmen "just followed everybody everywhere they 
went * * * they interviewed some of your patrolmen * * * on 
the corner * * * they were interviewing anybody." 

Wade himself also made several statements to the press. He 
visited police headquarters twice on Friday, twice on Saturday, 
and twice on Sunday. On most of these occasions he was inter- 
viewed by the press and appeared on television.^^* After Oswald 
had appeared before the press on Friday night, Wade held an im- 



promptu conference with reporters in the overflowing assembly 
room.^^^ Wade told the press on Saturday that he would not reveal 
any evidence because it might prejudice the selection of a jury.^^^ On 
other occasions, however, he mentioned some items of evidence and 
expressed his opinions regarding Oswald's guilt. He told the press 
on Friday night that Oswald's wife had told the police that her hus- 
band had a rifle in the garage at the house in Irving and that it was 
missing the morning of the assassination. On one occasion he repeated 
the error that the murder rifle had been a Mauser. Another time, he 
stated his belief that Oswald had prepared for the assassination 
months in advance, including what he would tell the police. He also 
said that Oswald had practiced with the rifle to improve his marks- 

The running commentary on the investigation by the police inevita- 
bly carried with it the disclosure of many details that proved to be 
erroneous. In their efforts to keep the public abreast of the investi- 
gation, the police reported hearsay items and unverified leads; fur- 
ther investigation proved many of these to be incorrect or inaccurate. 
For example, the rifle found on the sixth floor of the Texas School 
Book Depository Building was initially identified as a Mauser 7.65 
rather than a Mannlicher-Carcano 6.5 because a deputy constable 
who was one of the first to see it thought it looked like a Mauser. He 
neither handled the weapon nor saw it at close range.^^^ 

Police sources were also responsible for the mistaken notion that 
the chicken bones found on the sixth floor were the remains of Os- 
wald's lunch. They had in fact been left by another employee who 
ate his lunch there at least 15 minutes before the assassination.^^^ 
Curry repeated the erroneous report that a Negro had picked up 
Oswald near the scene of the assassination and driven him across 
town.2^° It was also reported that the map found in Oswald's room 
contained a marked route of the Presidential motorcade when it actu- 
ally contained markings of places where Oswald may have applied 
for jobs, including, of course, the Texas School Book Depository.^^^ 

Concern about the effects of the unlimited disclosures was being 
voiced by Saturday morning. According to District Attorney 
Wade, he received calls from lawyers in Dallas and elsewhere 
expressing concern about providing an attorney for Oswald and about 
the amount of information being given to the press by the police and 
the district attorney .^^^ Curry continued to answer questions on 
television and radio during the remainder of the day and Sunday 

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover became concerned because "almost 
as soon as * * * [FBI Laboratory reports] would reach the Dallas 
Police Department, the chief of police or one of the representatives of 
the department would go on TY or radio and relate findings of the 
FBI, giving information such as the identification of the gun and 
other items of physical evidence." On Sunday, after Oswald was 
shot. Hoover dispatched a personal message to Curry requesting him 


"not to go on the air any more until this case * * * [is] resolved." 
Hoover testified later that Curry agreed not to make any more 

The shooting of Oswald shocked the Dallas police, and after the 
interviews that immediately followed the shooting they were disposed 
to remain silent. Chief Curry made only one more television appear- 
ance after the shooting. At 1 :30 p.m., he descended to the assembly 
room where, tersely and grimly, he announced Oswald's death. He 
refused to answer any of the questions shouted at him by the persistent 
reporters, concluding the conference in less than a minute.^^^ 

District Attorney Wade also held one more press conference. 
Before doing so on Sunday evening, he returned once more to the 
police station and held a meeting with "all the brass" except Curry. 
Wade told them that "people are saying * * * you had the wrong 
man and you all were the one who killed him or let him out here to 
have him killed intentionally." Wade told the police that "somebody 
ought to go out in television and lay out the evidence that you had on 
Oswald, and tell them everything." He sat down and listed from 
memory items of evidence in the case against Oswald. According to 
Wade, Chief Curry refused to make any statements because he had 
told an FBI inspector that he would say no more. The police refused 
to furnish Wade with additional details of the case.^^^ 

Wade nonetheless proceeded to hold a lengthy formal press con- 
ference that evening, in which he attempted to list all of the evidence 
that had been accumulated at that point tending to establish Oswald 
as the assassin of President Kennedy. Unfortunately, at that time, 
as he subsequently testified, he lacked a thorough grasp of the evi- 
dence and made a number of errors.^^ He stated that Oswald had 
told a woman on a bus that the President had been killed, an error 
apparently caused by the busdriver having confused Oswald with 
another passenger who was on the bus after Oswald had left. Wade 
also repeated the error about Oswald's having a map marked with the 
route of the motorcade. He told reporters that Oswald's description 
and name "went out by the police to look for him." The police 
never mentioned Oswald's name in their broadcast descriptions before 
his arrest. 

Wade was innocent of one error imputed to him since November 24. 
The published transcript of part of the press conference fur- 
nished to newspapers by the Associated Press represented Wade 
as having identified the cabdriver who took Oswald to North Beckley 
Avenue after the shooting, as one named "Darryl Click." The tran- 
script as it appeared in the New York Times and the Washington 
Post of November 26, reads : 

A. [Wade] a lady. He then — ^the bus, he asked the bus driver 
to stop, got off at a stop, caught a taxicab driver, Darryl Click. I 
don't have his exact place — and went to his home in Oak Cliff, 
changed his clothes hurriedly, and left.^*^ 


The correct transcript of the press conference, taken from an audio 
tape supplied by station WB AP, Fort Worth, is as follows : 

A. [Wade] A lady. He then — the bus, he asked the bus driver 
to stop, got off at a stop, caught a taxicab driver. 
Q. Where? 

A. In Oak Cliff. I don't have the exact place — and went to 
his home m Oak Cliff, changed his clothes hurriedly and left.^*^ 

In this manner, a section of Dallas, "Oak Cliff," became a non- 
existent taxicab driver, "Darryl Click." Wade did not mention the 
cabdriver by name at any time. In transcribing the conference from 
the sound tape, a stenographer apparently made an error that might 
have become permanently imbedded in the literature of the event but 
for the preservation and use of an original sound tape. 

Though many of the inaccuracies were subsequently corrected by 
the police and are negated by findings of the Commission included 
elsewhere in this report, the publicizing of unchecked information 
provided much of the basis for the myths and rumors that came into 
being soon after the President's death. The erroneous disclosures 
became the basis for distorted reconstructioivs and interpretations of 
the assassination. The necessity for the Dallas authorities to correct 
themselves or to be corrected by other sources gave rise not only to 
criticism of the police department's competence but also to doubts re- 
garding the veracity of the police. Skeptics sought to cast doubt on 
much of the correct evidence later developed and to find support for 
their own theories in these early police statements. 

The immediate disclosure of information by the police created a 
further risk of injuring innocent citizens by unfavorable publicity. 
This was the unfortunate experience of Joe R. Molina, a Dallas-bom 
Navy veteran who had been employed by the Texas School Book De- 
pository since 1947 and on November 22, 1963, held the position of 
credit manager. Apparently because of Molina's employment at the 
Depository and his membership in a veterans' organization, the 
American G.I. Forum, that the Dallas police considered possibly 
subversive, Dallas policemen searched Molina's home with his 
permission, at about 1 :30 a.m., Saturday, November 23. During the 
day Molina was intermittently interrogated at police headquarters for 
6 or 7 hours, chiefly about his membership in the American G.I. 
Forum, and also about Oswald. He was never arrested, charged, or 
held in custody .^^^ 

While Molina was being questioned, officials of the police depart- 
ment made statements or answered questions^** that provided 
the basis for television reports about Molina during the day. 
These reports spoke of a "second suspect being picked up," insinuated 
that the Dallas police had reason to suspect another person who worked 
in the Texas School Book Depository, stated that the suspect had been 
arrested and his home searched, and mentioned that Molina may have 


been identified by the U.S. Department of Justice as a possible 

No evidence was ever presented to link Molina with Oswald except 
as a fellow employee of the Texas School Book Depository. Accord- 
ing to Molina, he had never spoken to Oswald.^^^' The FBI notified 
the Commission that Molina had never been the subject of an investiga- 
tion by it and that it had never given any information about Molina 
to the Dallas police concerning any alleged subversive activities by 
him.2*^ The Dallas police explained in a statement to the FBI that 
they had never had a file on Molina, but that they did have one on 
the American G.I. Forum.^^^ 

Molina lost his his job in December. He felt that he was being dis- 
charged because of the unfavorable publicity he had received, but 
officials of the Depository claimed that automation was the reason. 
Molina testified that he had difficulty in finding another position, 
until finally, with the help of a fellow church member, he secured a 
position at a lower salary than his previous one.^*^ 

If Oswald had been tried for his murders of November 22, the effects 
of the news policy pursued by the Dallas authorities would have 
proven harmful both to the prosecution and the defense. The mis- 
information reported after the shootings might have been used by 
the defense to cast doubt on the reliability of the State's entire case. 
Though each inaccuracy can be explained without great difficulty, the 
number and variety of misstatements issued by the police shortly after 
the assassination would have greatly assisted a skillful defense attor- 
ney attempting to influence the attitudes of jurors. 

A fundamental objection to the news policy pursued by the Dallas 
police, however, is the extent to which it endangered Oswald's con- 
stitutional right to a trial by an impartial jury. Because of the 
nature of the crime, the widespread attention which it necessarily re- 
ceived, and the intense public feelings which it aroused, it would have 
been a most difficult task to select an unprejudiced jury, either in 
Dallas or elsewhere. But the difficulty was markedly increased by 
the divulgence of the specific items of evidence with which the police 
linked Oswald to the two killings. The disclosure of evidence en- 
couraged the public, from which a jury would ultimately be im- 
paneled, to prejudge the very questions that would be raised at trial. 

Moreover, rules of law might have prevented the prosecution from 
presenting portions of this evidence to the jury. For example, though 
expressly recognizing that Oswald's wife could not be compelled to 
testify against him. District Attorney Wade revealed to the Nation 
that Marina Oswald had affirmed her husband's ownership of a rifle 
like that found on the sixth floor of the Texas School Book De- 
pository.2^^ Curry stated that Oswald had refused to take a lie 
detector test, although such a statement would have been inadmis- 
sible in a trial. The exclusion of such evidence, however, would 
have been meaningless if jurors were already familiar with the same 
facts from previous television or newspaper reports. Wade might 
have influenced prospective jurors by his mistaken statement that 


the paraffin test showed that Oswald had fired a gun. The tests merely 
showed that he had nitrate traces on his hands, which did not neces- 
sarily mean that he had fired either a rifle or a pistol.^^ 

The disclosure of evidence was seriously aggravated by the state- 
ments of numerous responsible officials that they were certain of 
Oswald's guilt. Captain Fritz said that the case against Oswald was 
"cinched." Curry reported on Saturday that "we are sure of our 
case." Curry announced that he considered Oswald sane, and 
Wade told the public that he would ask for the death penalty .^^^ 

The American Bar Association declared in December 1963 that 
"widespread publicizing of Oswald's alleged guilt, involving state- 
ments by officials and public disclosures of the details of 'evidence,' 
would have made it extremely difficult to impanel an unprejudiced 
jury and afford the accused a fair trial." Local bar associations 
expressed similar f eelings.^^^ The Commission agrees that Lee Harvey 
Oswald's opportunity for a trial by 12 jurors free of preconception 
as to his guilt or innocence would have been seriously jeopardized 
by the premature disclosure and weighing of the evidence against 

The problem of disclosure of information and its effect on trials is, 
of course, further complicated by the independent activities of the 
press in developing information on its own from sources other than 
law enforcement agencies. Had the police not released the specific 
items of evidence against Oswald, it is still possible that the other 
information presented on television and in the newspapers, chiefly 
of a biographical nature, would itself have had a prejudicial effect 
on the public. 

In explanation of the news policy adopted by the Dallas authorities. 
Chief Curry observed that "it seemed like there was a great demand 
by the general public to know what was going on." In a prepared 
statement. Captain King wrote : 

At that time we felt a necessity for permitting the newsmen 
as much latitude as possible. We realized the magnitude of the 
incident the newsmen were there to cover. We realized that not 
only the nation but the world would be greatly interested in what 
occurred in Dallas. We believed that we had an obligation to 
make as widely known as possible everything we could regarding 
the investigation of the assassination and the manner in which 
we undertook that investigation.^^^ 

The Commission recognizes that the people of the United States, 
and indeed the world, had a deep-felt interest in learning of the events 
surrounding the death of President Kennedy, including the develop- 
ment of the investigation in Dallas. An informed public provided 
the ultimate guarantee that adequate steps would be taken to appre- 
hend those responsible for the assassination and that all necessary 
precautions would be taken to protect the national security. It was 
therefore proper and desirable that the public know which agencies 


were participating in the investigation and the rate at which their 
work was progressing. The public was also entitled to know that 
Lee Harvey Oswald had been apprehended and that the State had 
gathered sufficient evidence to arraign him for the murders of the 
President and Patrolman Tippit, that he was being held pending 
action of the grand jury, that the investigation was continuing, and 
that the law enforcement agencies had discovered no e^ddence which 
tended to show that any other person was involved in either slaying. 

However, neither the press nor the public had a right to 
be contemporaneously informed by the police or prosecuting authori- 
ties of the details of the evidence being accumulated against Oswald. 
Undoubtedly the public was interested in these disclosures, but its 
curiosity should not have been satisfied at the expense of the accused's 
right to a trial by an impartial jury. The courtroom, not the news- 
paper or television screen, is the appropriate forum in our system 
for the trial of a man accused of a crime. 

If the evidence in the possession of the authorities had not been 
disclosed, it is true that the public would not have been in a position 
to assess the adequacy of the investigation or to apply pressures for 
further official undertakings. But a major consequence of the hasty 
and at times inaccurate divulgence of evidence after the assassination 
was simply to give rise to groundless rumors and public confusion. 
Moreover, without learning the details of the case, the public could 
have been informed by the responsible authority of the general scope 
of the investigation and the extent to which State and Federal 
agencies were assisting in the police work. 


While appreciating the heavy and unique pressures with which 
the Dallas Police Department was confronted by reason of the assas- 
sination of President Kennedy, primary responsibility for having 
failed to control the press and to check the flow of undigested evi- 
dence to the public must be borne by the police department. It was 
the only agency that could have established orderly and sound oper- 
ating procedures to control the multitude of newsmen gathered in 
the police building after the assassination. 

The Commission believes, however, that a part of the responsibility 
for the unfortunate circumstances following the President's death 
must be borne by the news media. The crowd of newsmen generally 
failed to respond properly to the demands of the police. Frequently 
without permission, news representatives used police offices on the 
third floor, tying up facilities and interfering with normal police 
operations. Police efforts to preserve order and to clear passageways 
in the corridor were usually unsuccessful. On Friday night 
the reporters completely ignored Curry's injunction against ask- 
ing Oswald questions in the assembly room and crowding in on him. 
On Sunday morning, the newsmen were mstructed to direct no ques- 


tions at Oswald; nevertheless, several reporters shouted questions at 
hun when he appeared in the basement.^^^ 

Moreover, by constantly pursuing public officials, the news repre- 
sentatives placed an insistent pressure upon them to disclose informa- 
tion. And this pressure was not without effect, since the police 
attitude toward the press was affected by the desire to maintain satis- 
factory relations with the news representatives and to create a favor- 
able image of themselves. Chief Curry frankly told the Commission 

I didn't order them out of the building, which if I had it to do 
over I would. In the past like I say, we had always maintained 
very good relations with our press, and they had always respected 

^g * * * 260 

Curry refused Fritz' request to put Oswald behind the screen in 
the assembly room at the Friday night press conference because this 
might have hindered the taking of pictures.^ Curry's subordinates 
had the impression that an unannounced transfer of Oswald to the 
county jail was unacceptable because Curry did not want to disappoint 
the newsmen ; he had promised that they could witness the transfer .^^ 
It seemed clear enough that any attempt to exclude the press from 
the building or to place limits on the information disclosed to them 
would have been resented and disputed by the newsmen, who were 
constantly and aggressively demanding all possible information about 
anything related to the assassination. 

Although the Commission has found no corroboration in the video 
and audio tapes, police officials recall that one or two representatives 
of the press reinforced their demands to see Oswald by suggesting 
that the police had been guilty of brutalizing him. They intimated 
that unless they were given the opportunity to see him, these sugges- 
tions would be passed on to the public.^®^ Captain King testified that 
he had been told that 

A short time after Oswald's arrest one newsman held up a 
photograph and said, "This is what the man charged with the 
assassination of the President looks like. Or at least this is what 
he did look like. We don't know what he looks like after an 
hour in the custody of the Dallas Police Department." 

City Manager Elgin Crull stated that when he visited Chief Curry in 
his office on the morning of November 23, Curry told him that he "felt 
it was necessary to cooperate with the news media representatives, in 
order to avoid being accused of using Gestapo tactics in connection 
with the handling of Oswald." Crull agreed with Curry .^^^ The Com- 
mission deems any such veiled threats to be absolutely without 

The general disorder in the Police and Courts Building during No- 
vember 22-24 reveals a regrettable lack of self-discipline by the news- 


men. The Commission believes that the news media, as well as the 
police authorities, who failed to impose conditions more in keeping 
with the orderly process of justice, must share responsibility for the 
failure of law enforcement w^hich occurred in connection with the death 
of Oswald. On previous occasions, public bodies have voiced the need 
for the exercise of self-restraint by the news media in periods when 
the demand for information must be tempered by other fundamental 
requirements of our society. 

At its annual meeting in Washington in April 1964, the American 
Society of Newspaper Editors discussed the role of the press in Dallas 
immediately after President Kennedy's assassination. The discus- 
sion revealed the strong misgivings among the editors themselves 
about the role that the press had played and their desire that the press 
display more self-discipline and adhere to higher standards of con- 
duct in the future.^^® To prevent a recurrence of the unfortunate 
events which followed the assassination, however, more than general 
concern will be needed. The promulgation of a code of professional 
conduct governing representatives of all news media would be wel- 
come evidence that the press had profited by the lesson of Dallas. 

The burden of insuring that appropriate action is taken to estab- 
lish ethical standards of conduct for the news media must also be 
borne, however, by State and local governments, by the bar, and 
ultimately by the public. The experience in Dallas during Novem- 
ber 22-24 is a dramatic affirmation of the need for steps to bring about 
a proper balance between the right of the public to be kept informed 
and the right of the individual to a fair and impartial trial. 



Investigation of Possible Conspiracy 

THIS chapter sets forth the findings of the Commission as to 
whether Lee Harvey Oswald had any accomplices in the 
planning or execution of the assassination. Particularly 
after the slaying of Oswald by Jack Ruby under the circumstances 
described in the preceding chapter, rumors and suspicions developed 
regarding the existence of a conspiracy to assassinate President 
Kennedy. As discussed in appendix XII, many of these rumors 
were based on a lack of information as to the nature and extent 
of evidence that Oswald alone fired the shots which killed President 
Kennedy and wounded Governor Connally. Others of the more 
widely publicized rumors maintained that Oswald must have received 
aid from one or more persons or political groups, ranging 
from the far left to the far right of the political spectrum, or from 
a foreign government, usually either the Castro regime in Cuba 
or the Soviet Union. 

The Commission faced substantial difficulties in determining 
whether anyone conspired with or assisted the person who committed 
the assassination. Prior to his own death Oswald had neither admitted 
his own involvement nor implicated any other persons in the assassina- 
tion of the President. The problem of determining the existence or 
nonexistence of a conspiracy was compounded because of the possibil- 
ity of subversive activity by a foreign power. Witnesses and evidence 
located in other countries were not subject to subpena, as they would 
have been if they had been located in the United States. When evi- 
dence was obtained from a foreign nation, it could not be appraised as 
effectively as if it had been derived from a domestic source. The 
Commission has given the closest scrutiny to all available evidence 
which related or might have related to a foreign country. All such 
evidence was tested, whenever possible, against the contingency that 
it had been fabricated or slanted to mislead or confuse. 

In order to meet its obligations fully, the Commission has investi- 
gated each rumor and allegation linking Oswald to a conspiracy which 
has come to its attention, regardless of source. In addition, the Com- 
mission has explored the details of Lee Harvey Oswald's activities and 


life, especially in the months immediately preceding the assassination, 
in order to develop any investigative lead relevant to the issue of 
conspiracy. All of Oswald's known writings or other possessions 
which might have been used for code or other espionage purposes have 
been examined by either the Federal Bureau of Investigation or the 
National Security Agency, or both agencies, to determine whether 
they were so used.^ 

In setting forth the results of this investigation, the first section of 
this chapter reviews the facts related to the assassination itself, pre- 
viously considered in more detail in chapter IV. If any conspiracy 
did exist, it might have manifested itself at some point during 
Oswald's preparation for the shooting, his execution of the plan, or his 
escape from the scene of the assassination. The Commission has 
therefore studied the precise means by which the assassination occurred 
for traces of evidence that Oswald received any form of assistance in 
effecting the killing. 

The second section of the chapter deals more broadly with Oswald's 
life since 1959. During the period following his discharge from the 
Marines in 1959, Oswald engaged in several activities which demand 
close scrutiny to determine whether, through these pursuits, he de- 
veloped any associations which were connected with the planning or 
execution of the assassination. Oswald professed commitment to 
Marxist ideology; he defected to the Soviet Union in 1959; he at- 
tempted to expatriate himself and acquire Soviet citizenship ; and he 
resided in the Soviet Union until June of 1962. After his return to the 
United States he sought to maintain contacts w^ith the Communist 
Party, Socialist Workers Party, and the Fair Play for Cuba Commit- 
tee ; he associated with various Russian-speaking citizens in the Dallas- 
Fort Worth area — some of whom had resided in Russia ; he traveled 
to Mexico City where he visited both the Cuban and Soviet Embassies 
7 weeks before the assassination ; and he corresponded with the Soviet 
Embassy in Washington, D.C. In view of these activities, the Com- 
mission has instituted a thorough investigation to determine whether 
the assassination was in some manner directed or encouraged through 
contacts made abroad or through Oswald's politically oriented activi- 
ties in this country. The Commission has also considered whether 
any connections existed between Oswald and certain right-wing ac- 
tivity in Dallas which, shortly before the assassination, led to the pub- 
lication of hostile criticism of President Kennedy. 

The final section of this chapter considers the possibility that Jack 
Ruby was part of a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. 
The Commission explored Ruby's background and his activities in the 
months prior to the assassination, and especially his activities in the 
2 days after the assassination, in an effort to determine whether there 
was any indication that Ruby was implicated in that event. The Com- 
mission also sought to ascertain the truth or falsity of assertions that 
Oswald and Ruby were known to one another prior to the assassination. 

In considering the question of foreign involvement, the Commis- 
sion has received valuable assistance from the Department of State, ■ 



the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, 
and other Federal agencies with special competence in the field of for- 
eign investigation. Some of the information furnished by these agen- 
cies is of a highly confidential nature. Nevertheless, because the 
disclosure of all facts relating to the assassination of President Ken- 
nedy is of great public importance, the Commission has included in 
this report all information furnished by these agencies which the 
Commission relied upon in coming to its conclusions, or which tended 
to contradict those conclusions. Confidential sources of information, 
as contrasted with the information itself, have, in a relatively few 
instances, been withheld. 


Earlier chapters have set forth the evidence upon which the Com- 
mission concluded that President Kennedy was fired upon from a 
single window in the southeast comer of the sixth floor of the Texas 
School Book Depository, and that Lee Harvey Oswald was the person 
who fired the shots from this point. As reflected in those chapters, 
a certain sequence of events necessarily took place in order for the 
assassination to have occurred as it did. The motorcade traveled past 
the Texas School Book Depository; Oswald had access to the sixth 
floor of the building; Oswald brought the rifle into the building; 
the cartons were arranged at the sixth-floor window ; and Oswald es- 
caped from the building before the police had sealed off the exits. Ac- 
cordingly, the Commission has investigated these circumstances to 
determine whether Oswald received help from any other person in 
planning or performing the shooting. 

Selection of Motorcade Route 

The factors involved in the choice of the motorcade route by the 
Secret Service have been discussed in chapter II of this report.^ It 
was there indicated that after passing through a portion of suburban 
Dallas, the motorcade was to travel west on Main Street, and then to 
the Trade Mart by way of the Stemmons Freeway, the most direct 
route from that point. This route would take the motorcade along the 
traditional parade route through downtown Dallas; it allowed the 
maximum number of persons to observe the President ; and it enabled 
the motorcade to cover the distance from Love Field to the Trade 
Mart in the 45 minutes allocated by members of the White House staff 
planning the President's schedule in Dallas. No member of the Secret 
Service, the Dallas Police Department, or the local host committee 
who was consulted felt that any other route would be preferable. 

To reach Stemmons Freeway from Main Street, it was determined 
that the motorcade would turn right from Main Street onto Houston 
Street for one block and then left onto Elm Street, proceeding through 
the Triple Underpass to the Stemmons Freeway access road. This 
route took the motorcade past the Texas School Book Depository 


Building on the northwest corner of Elm and Houston Streets. Be- 
cause of the sharp turn at this corner, the motorcade also reduced its 
speed. The motorcade would have passed approximately 90 yards 
further from the Depository Building and made no turn near the build- 
ing if it had attempted to reach the Stemmons Freeway directly from 
Main Street. The road plan in Dealey Plaza, however, is designed 
to prevent such a turn. In order to keep motorists from reaching 
the freeway from Main Street, a concrete barrier has been erected 
between Main and Elm Streets extending beyond the freeway entrance. 
(See Commission Exhibits Nos. 2114-2116, pp. 35-37.) Hence, it 
would have been necessary for the motorcade either to have driven 
over this barrier or to have made a sharp S-turn in order to have en- 
tered the freeway from Main Street. Selection of the motorcade route 
was thus entirely appropriate and based on such legitimate considera- 
tions as the origin and destination of the motorcade, the desired oppor- 
tunity for the President to greet large numbers of people, and normal 
patterns of traffic. 

Oswald's Presence in the Depository Building 

Oswald's presence as an employee in the Texas School Book Depos- 
itory Building was the result of a series of happenings unrelated to 
the President's trip to Dallas. He obtained the Depository job after 
almost 2 weeks of job hunting which began immediately upon his 
arrival in Dallas from Mexico on October 3, 1963.^ At that time he 
was in poor financial circumstances, having arrived from Mexico City 
with approximately $133 or less,* and with his unemployment com- 
pensation benefits due to expire on October 8.^ Oswald and his wife 
were expecting the birth of their second child, who was in fact bom on 
October 20.^ In attempting to procure work, Oswald utilized normal 
channels, including the Texas Employment Commission.'^ 

On October 4, 1963, Oswald applied for a position with Padgett 
Printing Corp., which was located at 1313 Industrial Boulevard, sev- 
eral blocks from President Kennedy's parade route.^ Oswald favor- 
ably impressed the plant superintendent who checked his prior job 
references, one of which was Jaggars- Chiles- Sto vail, the firm where 
Oswald had done photography work from October 1962 to April 1963.'-^ 
The following report was written by Padgett's plant superintendent 
on the reverse side of Oswald's job application : "Bob Sto vail does not 
recommend this man. He was released because of his record as a 
troublemaker. — Has Communistic tendencies." Oswald received 
word that Padgett Printing had hired someone else.^^ 

Oswald's employment with the Texas School Book Depository came 
about through a chance conversation on Monday, October 14, between 
Ruth Paine, with whom his family was staying while Oswald was 
living in a roominghouse in Dallas, and two of Mrs. Paine's neigh- 
bors.^^ During a morning conversation over coffee, at which Marina 
Oswald was present, Oswald's search for employment was men- 
tioned. The neighbors suggested several places where Oswald might 


apply for work. One of the neighbors present, Linnie Mae Kandle, 
said that her brother had recently been hired as a schoolbook order 
filler at the Texas School Book Depository and she thought the De- 
pository might need additional help. She testified, "and of course 
you know just being neighborly and everything, we felt sorry for 
Marina because her baby was due right away as we understood it, and 
he didn't have any work * * is 

When Marina Oswald and Mrs. Paine returned home, Mrs. Paine 
promptly telephoned the Texas School Book Depository and spoke 
to Superintendent Roy Truly, whom she did not know.^* Truly agreed 
to interview Oswald, who at the time was in Dallas seeking employ- 
ment. When Oswald called that evening, Mrs. Paine told him of her 
conversation with Truly. The next morning Oswald went to the 
Texas School Book Depository where he was interviewed and hired 
for the position of order filler.^^ 

On the same date, the Texas Employment Commission attempted 
to refer Oswald to an airline company which was looking for baggage 
and cargo handlers at a salary which was $100 per month higher than 
that offered by the Depository Co." The Employment Commission 
tried to advise Oswald of this job at 10:30 a.m. on October 16, 1963. 
Since the records of the Commission indicate that Oswald was then 
working,^^ it seems clear that Oswald was hired by the Depository Co. 
before the higher paying job was available. It is unlikely that he ever 
learned of this second opportunity. 

Although publicity concerning the President's trip to Dallas ap- 
peared in Dallas newspapers as early as September 13, 1963, the plan- 
ning of the motorcade route v/as not started until after November 4, 
when the Secret Service was first notified of the trip.^^ A final decision 
as to the route could not have been reached until November 14, when the 
Trade Mart was selected as the luncheon site.^^ . Although news reports 
on November 15 and November 16 might have led a person to believe 
that the motorcade would pass the Depository Building, the route was 
not finally selected until November 18 ; it was announced in the press 
on November 19, only 3 days before the President's arrival.^^ Based 
on the circumstances of Oswald's employment and the planning of the 
motorcade route, the Commission has concluded that Oswald's 
employment in the Depository was wholly unrelated to tlie President's 
trip to Dallas. 

Bringing Rifle Into Building 

On the basis of the evidence developed in chapter IV the Commis- 
sion concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald carried the rifle used in the 
assassination into the Depository Building on Friday, November 22, 
1963, in the handmade brown paper bag found near the window from 
which the shots were fired.^^ The arrangement by which Buell Wesley 
Frazier drove Oswald between Irving and Dallas was an inno- 
cent one, having commenced when Oswald first started working at 
the Depository. 2s As noted above, it was Frazier's sister, Linnie May 
Randle, who had suggested to Ruth Paine that Oswald might be able 


to find employment at the Depository. When Oswald started work- 
ing there, Frazier, who lived only a half block away from the Paines, 
offered to drive Oswald to and from Irving whenever he was going 
to stay at the Paines' home.^^ Although Oswald's request for a ride to 
Irving on Thursday, November 21, was a departure from the normal 
weekend pattern, Oswald gaA^e the explanation that he needed to 
obtain curtain rods for an "apartment" in Dallas.^^ This served also 
to explain the long package which he took with him from Irving to 
the Depository Building the next morning.^^ Further, there is no 
evidence that Euth Paine or Marina Oswald had reason to believe that 
Oswald's return was in any way related to an attempt to shoot the 
President the next day. Although his visit was a surprise, since he 
arrived on Thursday instead of Friday for his usual weekend visit, 
both women testified that they thought he had come to patch up a 
quarrel which he had with his wife a few days earlier when she learned 
that he was living in Dallas under an assumed name.^^ 

It has also been shown that Oswald had the opportunity to work in 
the Paines' garage on Thursday evening and prepare the rifle by dis- 
assembling it, if it were not already disassembled, and packing it in 
the brown bag.^^ It has been demonstrated that the paper and tape 
from which the bag was made came from the shipping room of the 
Texas School Book Depository and that Oswald had access to this ma- 
terial.^^ Neither Ruth Paine nor Marina Oswald saw the paper bag or 
the paper and tape out of which the bag was constructed.^^ If 
Oswald actually prepared the bag in the Depository out of materials 
available to him there, he could have concealed it in the jacket or shirt 
which he was wearing.^^ The Commission has found no evidence which 
suggests that Oswald required or in fact received any assistance in 
bringing the rifle into the building other than the innocent assistance 
provided by Frazier in the form of the ride to work. 

Accomplices at the Scene of the Assassination 

The arrangement of boxes at the window from which the shots 
were fired was studied to determine whether Oswald required any 
assistance in moving the cartons to the window. Cartons had been 
stacked on the floor, a few feet behind the window, thus shielding 
Oswald from the view of anyone on the sixth floor who did not at- 
tempt to go behind them.^^ (gg^ Commission Exhibit No. 723, 
p. 80.) Most of those cartons had been moved there by other em- 
ployees to clear an area for laying a new flooring on the west end 
of the sixth floor .^^ Superintendent Roy Truly testified that the floor- 
laying crew moved a long row of books parallel to the windows on 
the south side and had "quite a lot of cartons" in the southeast corner 
of the building.^* He said that there was not any particular pattern 
that the men used in putting them there. "They were just piled up there 
more or less at that time." According to Truly, "several cartons" 
which had been in the extreme southeast corner had been placed on top 
of the ones that had been piled in front of the southeast corner window.^® 


The arrangement of the three boxes in the window and the one 
on which the assassin may have sat has been described previously .^'^ 
Two of these four boxes, weighing approximately 55 pounds each, had 
been moved by the floor-laying crew from the west side of the floor to 
the area near the southwest corner.^^ The carton on which the assassin 
may have sat might not even have been moved by the assassin at all. 
A photograph of the scene depicts this carton on the floor alongside 
other similar cartons. (See Commission Exhibit No. 1301, p. 138.) 
Oswald's right palmprint on this carton may have been placed there 
as he was sitting on the carton rather than while carrying it. In any 
event both of these 55-pound cartons could have been carried by one 
man. The remaining two cartons contained light block-like reading 
aids called "Rolling Readers" weighing only about 8 pounds each.^* 
Although they had been moved approximately 40 feet *° from their 
normal locations at the southeast corner window, it would appear that 
one man could have done this in a matter of seconds. 

In considering the possibility of accomplices at the window, the 
Commission evaluated the significance of the presence of fingerprints 
other than Oswald's on the four cartons found in and near the win- 
dow. Three of Oswald's prints were developed on two of the car- 
tons.*^ In addition a total of 25 identifiable prints were found on 
the 4 cartons.*^ Moreover, prints were developed which were con- 
sidered as not identifiable, i.e., the quality of the print was too frag- 
mentary to be of value for identification purposes.*^ 

As has been explained in chapter IV, the Commission determined 
that none of the warehouse employees who might have customarily 
handled these cartons left prints which could be identified.*^ This 
was considered of some probative value in determining whether Os- 
wald moved the cartons to the window. All but 1 of the 25 definitely 
identifiable prints were the prints of 2 persons — an FBI employee and 
a member of the Dallas Police Department who had handled the 
cartons during the course of the investigation.*^ One identifiable 
palmprint was not identified.*^ 

The presence on these cartons of unidentified prints, whether or not 
identifiable, does not appear to be unusual since these cartons con- 
tained commercial products which had been handled by many people 
throughout the normal course of manufacturing, warehousing, and 
shipping. Unlike other items of evidence such as, for example, a ran- 
som note in a kidnaping, these cartons could contain the prints of 
many people having nothing to do with the assassination. Moreover, 
the FBI does not maintain a filing system for palmprints because, 
according to the supervisor of the Bureau's latent fingerprint section, 
Sebastian F. Latona, the problems of classification make such a system 
impracticable.*"^ Finally, in considering the significance of the uniden- 
tified prints, the Commission gave weight to the opinion of Latona to 
the effect that people could handle these cartons without leaving prints 
which were capable of being developed.*^ 

Though the fingerprints other than Oswald's on the boxes thus 
provide no indication of the presence of an accomplice at the win- 


730-900 0-64— 18 

dow, two Depository employees are known to have been present 
briefly on the sixth floor during the period between 11 :45 a.m., when 
the floor-laying crew stopped for lunch, and the moment of the assas- 
sination. One of these was Charles Givens, a member of the floor- 
laying crew, who went down on the elevator with the others and then, 
returned to the sixth floor to get his jacket and cigarettes.^^ He saw 
Oswald walking away from the southeast corner, but saw no one else 
on the sixth floor at that time. He then took one of the elevators back 
to the first floor at approximately 11 :55 a.m.^^ 

Bonnie Ray Williams, who was also working with the floor-laying 
crew, returned to the sixth floor at about noon to eat his lunch and 
watch the motorcade.^^ He looked out on Elm Street from a position 
in the area of the third or fourth set of windows from the east wall.^^ 
At this point he was approximately 20-30 feet away from the south- 
east corner window. He remained for about "5, 10, maybe 12 minutes" 
eating his lunch which consisted of chicken and a bottle of soda pop.^^ 
Williams saw no one on the sixth floor during this period, although 
the stacks of books prevented his seeing the east side of the building.^* 
After finishing his lunch Williams took the elevator down because 
no one had joined him on the sixth floor to watch the motorcade.^^ He 
stopped at the fifth floor where he joined Harold Norman and James 
Jarman, Jr., who watched the motorcade with him from a position 
on the fifth floor directly below the point from which the shots were 
fired. Williams left the remains of his lunch, including chicken bones 
and a bottle of soda, near the window where he was eating.^^ 

Several witnesses outside the building claim to have seen a person 
in the southeast corner window of the sixth floor. As has already been 
indicated, some were able to offer better descriptions than others and 
one, Howard L. Brennan, made a positive identification of Oswald as 
being the person at the window.^^ Although there are differences 
among these witnesses with regard to their ability to describe the per- 
son they saw, none of these witnesses testified to seeing more than one 
person in the window.^^ 

One witness, however, offered testimony which, if accurate, would 
create the possibility of an accomplice at the window at the time of 
the assassination. The witness was 18-year-old Arnold Rowland, who 
testified in great detail concerning his activities and observations on 
November 22, 1963. He and his wife were awaiting the motorcade, 
standing on the east side of Houston Street between Maine and Elm,^^ 
when he looked toward the Depository Building and noticed a man 
holding a rifle standing back from the southwest corner window on 
the sixth floor. The man was rather slender in proportion to his 
size and of light complexion with dark hair.^° Rowland said that his 
wife was looking elsewhere at the time and when they looked back 
to the window the man "was gone from our vision." They thought 
the man was most likely someone protecting the President. After 
the assassination Rowland signed an affidavit in which he told of see- 
ing this man, although Rowland was unable to identify him.^^ 


Wlien Rowland testified before the Commission on March 10, 1964, 
he claimed for the first time to have seen another person on the sixth 
floor. Rowland said that before he had noticed the man with the 
rifle on the southwest corner of the sixth floor he had seen an elderly 
Negro man ''hanging out that window" on the southeast comer of the 
sixth floor.^^ Rowland described the Negro man as "very thin, an 
elderly gentleman, bald or practically bald, very thin hair if he wasn't 
bald," between 50 and 60 years of age, 5 feet 8 inches to 5 feet 10 inches 
tall, with fairly dark complexion.^* Rowland claimed that he looked 
back two or three times and noticed that the man remained until 5 or 6 
minutes prior to the time the motorcade came. Rowland did not see 
him thereafter. He made no mention of the Negro man in his affi- 
davit.^^ And, while he said he told FBI agents about the man in the 
southeast corner window when interviewed on the Saturday and Sun- 
day following the assassination,^^ no such statement appears in any 
FBI report.^^ 

Mrs. Rowland testified that her husband never told her about see- 
ing any other man on the sixth floor except the man with the rifle 
in the southwest corner that he first saw. She also was present dur- 
ing Rowland's interview with representatives of the FBI ^® and said 
she did not hear him make such a statement,^^ although she also said 
that she did not hear everything that was discussed.^° Mrs. Rowland 
testified that after her husband first talked about seeing a man with 
the rifle, she looked back more than once at the Depository Building 
and saw no person looking out of any window on the sixth floor.^^ 
She also said that "At times my husband is prone to exaggerate." 
Because of inconsistencies in Rowland's testimony and the importance 
of his testimony to the question of a possible accomplice, the Com- 
mission requested the FBI to conduct an inquiry into the truth of 
a broad range of statements made by Rowland to the Commission. 
The investigation showed that numerous statements by Rowland con- 
cerning matters about which he would not normally be expected to 
be mistaken — such as subjects he studied in school, grades he received, 
whether or not he had graduated from high school, and whether 
or not he had been admitted to college — were false. '^^ 

The only possible corroboration for Rowland's story is found in 
the testimony of Roger D. Craig, a deputy sheriff of Dallas County, 
whose testimony on other aspects of the case has been discussed in 
chapter IV. Craig claimed that about 10 minutes after the assassina- 
tion he talked to a young couple, Mr. and Mrs. Rowland, 

* * * and the boy said he saw two men on the sixth floor of the 
Book Depository Building over there ; one of them had a rifle with 
a telescopic sight on it — but he thought they were Secret Service 
agents or guards and didn't report it. This was about — oh, he 
said, 15 minutes before the motorcade ever arrived.^* 

According to Craig, Rowland said that he looked back a few minutes 
later and "the other man was gone, and there was just one man — the 


man with the rifle." Craig further testified that Rowland told him 
that when he first saw the two men, they were walking back and 
forth in front of the window for several minutes. They were both 
white men and one of them had a rifle with a scope on it.'^^ This re- 
port by Craig is contradicted by the testimony of both the Rowlands, 
and by every recorded interview with them conducted by law enforce- 
ment agencies after the assassination. 

As part of its investigation of Rowland's allegation and of the 
general question of accomplices at the scene of the assassination, the 
Commission undertook an investigation of every person employed 
in the Texas School Book Depository Building. Two employees 
might possibly fit the general description of an elderly Negro man, 
bald or balding. These two men were on the first floor of the build- 
ing during the period before and during the assassination." More- 
over, all of the employees were asked whether they saw any strangers 
in the building on the morning of November 22.^^ Only one employee 
saw a stranger whom he described as a feeble individual who had 
to be helped up the front steps of the building. He went to a public 
restroom and left the building 5 minutes later, about 40 minutes 
before the assassination.^^ 

Rowland's failure to report his story despite several interviews until 
his appearance before the Commission, the lack of probative cor- 
roboration, and the serious doubts about his credibility, have led the 
Commission to reject the testimony that Rowland saw an elderly 
balding Negro man in the southeast corner window of the sixth floor 
of the Depository Building several minutes before the assassination. 

Oswald's Escape 

The Commission has analyzed Oswald's movements between the time 
of the assassination and the shooting of Patrolman Tippit to determine 
whether there is any evidence that Oswald had assistance in his flight 
from the building. Oswald's activities during this period have been 
traced through the testimony of seven witnesses and discussed in 
detail in chapter IY.^° (See Commission Exhibit No. 1119-A, p. 
158 and Commission Exhibit No. 1118, p. 150.) Patrolman M. L. 
Baker and Depository superintendent Roy Truly saw him within 2 
minutes of the assassination on the second floor of the building. 
Mrs. R. A. Reid saw him less than 1 minute later walking through 
the second-floor offices toward the front of the building. A busdriver, 
Cecil J. McWatters, and Oswald's former landlady, Mrs. Mary Bled- 
soe, saw him board a bus at approximately 12:40 p.m., and get off 
about 4 minutes later. A cabdriver, William W. Whaley, drove 
Oswald from a cabstand located a few blocks from where Oswald 
left the bus to a point in Oak Cliff about four blocks from his rooming- 
house; and Earlene Roberts, the housekeeper at Oswald's rooming- 
house, saw him enter the roominghouse at about 1 p.m. and leave a few 
minutes later. When seen by these seven witnesses Oswald was always 


Particular attention has been directed to Oswald's departure from 
the Depository Building in order to determine whether he could have 
left the building within approximately 3 minutes of the assassination 
without assistance. As discussed more fully in chapter IV, the build- 
ing was probably first sealed off no earlier than 12 :37 by Inspector 
Herbert Sawyer.^^ The shortest estimate of the time taken to seal off 
the building comes from Police Officer W. E. Barnett, one of the officers 
assigned to the corner of Elm and Houston Streets for the Presidential 
motorcade, who estimated that approximately 3 minutes elapsed be- 
tween the time he heard the last of the shots and the time he started 
guarding the front door.^^ According to Barnett, "there were people 
going in and out" during this period.^^ The evidence discussed in 
chapter IV shows that 3 minutes would have been sufficient time for 
Oswald to have descended from the sixth floor and left the building 
without assistance.^* 

One witness, James E. Worrell, Jr., claims to have seen a man run- 
ning from the rear of the building shortly after the assassination, but 
in testimony before the Commission he stated that he could not see 
his face.^^ Two other witnesses who watched the rear of the build- 
ing during the first 5 minutes after the shooting saw no one leave.®^ 
The claim of Deputy Sheriff Roger Craig that he saw Oswald leave the 
Depository Building approximately 15 minutes after the assassination 
has been discussed in chapter IV.®'^ Although Craig may have seen 
someone enter a station wagon 15 minutes after the assassination, the 
person he saw was not Lee Harvey Oswald, who was far removed from 
the building at that time. 

The possibility that accomplices aided Oswald in connection with 
his escape was suggested by the testimony of Earlene Roberts, the 
housekeeper at the 1026 North Beckley roominghouse.^^ She testified 
that at about 1 p.m. on November 22, after Oswald had returned to 
the roominghouse, a Dallas police car drove slowly by the front of 
the 1026 North Beckley premises and stopped momentarily ; she said 
she heard its horn several times.^^ Mrs. Roberts stated that the occu- 
pants of the car were not known to her even though she had worked 
for some policemen who would occasionally come by.^*^ She 
said the policeman she knew drove car No. ITO and that this was not 
the number on the police car that honked on November 22. She 
testified that she first thought the car she saw was No. 106 and 
then said that it was No. 107.^^ In an FBI interview she had stated 
that she looked out the front window and saw police car No. 
207.^2 Investigation has not produced any evidence that there was a 
police vehicle in the area of 1026 North Beckley at about 1 p.m. on No- 
vember 22.^3 Squad car 207 was at the Texas School Book Depository 
Building, as was car 106. Squad cars 170 and 107 were sold in April 
1963 and their numbers were not reassigned until February 1964.^* 

Whatever may be the accuracy of Mrs. Roberts' recollection con- 
cerning the police car, it is apparent from Mrs. Roberts' further testi- 
mony that she did not see Oswald enter a car when he hurriedly left the 
house. She has stated that when she last saw Oswald, shortly after 


1 p.m., he was standing at a bus stop in front of the house.^^ Oswald 
was next seen less than 1 mile away, at the point where he shot Patrol- 
man Tippit. Oswald could have easily reached this point on foot by 
about 1 :16 p.m., when Tippit was shot. Finally, investigation has pro- 
duced no evidence that Oswald had prearranged plans for a means to 
leave Dallas after the assassination or that any other person was to 
have provided him assistance in hiding or in departing the city. 


Finding no evidence in the circumstances immediately surround- 
ing the assassination that any person other than Lee Harvey Oswald 
was involved in the killing of the President, the Commission directed 
an intensive investigation into his life for the purpose, among others, 
of detecting any possible traces that at some point he became involved 
in a conspiracy culminating in the deed of November 22, 1963. As a 
product of this investigation, the Commission has compiled a detailed 
chronological biography of Oswald which is set forth as appendix 
XIII. Study of the period from Oswald's birth in 1939 to his mili- 
tary service from 1956 to 1959 has revealed no evidence that he was 
associated with any type of sinister or subversive organization dur- 
ing that period. Though his personality and political views took 
shape during these early years, the events of that period are signif- 
icant primarily to an understanding of the personality of Lee Har- 
vey Oswald and are discussed in that connection in chapter VII. 
Beginning with his preparation for defection to the Soviet Union in 
1959, however, Oswald engaged in several activities which required 
close scrutiny by the Commission. In an appraisal of Oswald's ac- 
tions since 1959 for the purpose of determining whether he was part of 
a conspiracy, several aspects of his background and character must 
be borne in mind. He was young, inexperienced, and had only a 
limited education. As will be more fully discussed in chapter VII, 
he was unable to establish relationships with others and had a resent- 
ment for authority and any discipline flowing from it. While he 
demonstrated the ability to act secretively and alone, without regard 
to the consequences to himself, as in his defection to the Soviet Union, 
he does not appear to have been the kind of person whom one would 
normally expect to be selected as a conspirator. 

Residence in the Soviet Union 

Lee Harvey Oswald was openly committed to Marxist ideology, he 
defected to the Soviet Union in 1959, and resided there until June 
of 1962, eventually returning to the United States with a Russian 
wife. In order to evaluate rumors and speculations ®^ that Oswald may 
have been an agent of the Soviet Union, the Commission investigated 
the facts surrounding Oswald's stay in Russia. The Commission 
was thus fulfilling its obligation to probe all facts of possible rele- 


vance to the assassination, and 'does not suggest by this investigation 
that the rulers of the Soviet Union be]ie\^ed that their political inter- 
ests would be advanced by the assassination of President Kennedy. 
On this question, the Secretary of State testified before the Commis- 
sion on June 10, 1964 as follows : 

I have seen no evidence that would indicate to me that the 
Soviet Union considered that it had an interest in the removal 
of President Kennedy or that it was in any way involved in 
the removal of President Kennedy. 

I have not seen or heard of any scrap of evidence indicating 
that the Soviet Union had any desire to eliminate President 
Kennedy nor in any way participated in any such event. 

Now, standing back and trying to look at that question ob- 
jectively despite the ideological differences between our two 
great systems, I can't see how it could be to the interest of the 
Soviet Union to make any such effort. 

^ ^ ^ #}« s)( ^ 

I do think that the Soviet Union, again objectively considered, 
has an interest in the correctness of state relations. This would 
be particularly true among the great powers, with which the 
major interests of the Soviet Union are directly engaged. 

sf* jjc ^ ^ "1^ ^ 

I think that although there are grave differences between 
the Communist world and the free world, between the Soviet 
Union and other major powers, that even from their point of 
view there needs to be some shape and form to international 
relations, that it is not in their interest to have this world struc- 
ture dissolve into complete anarchy, that great states and par- 
ticularly nuclear powers have to be in a position to deal with 
each other, to transact business with each other, to try to meet 
problems with each other, and that requires the maintenance of 
correct relations and access to the leadership on all sides. 

I think also that although there had been grave differences be- 
tween Chairman Khrushchev and President Kennedy, I think 
there were evidences of a certain mutual respect that had de- 
veloped over some of the experiences, both good and bad, through 
which these two men had lived. 

I think both of them were aware of the fact that any Chairman 
of the Soviet Union, and any President of the United States, 
necessarily bear somewhat special responsibility for the general 
peace of the world. Indeed without exaggeration, one could al- 
most say the existence of the northern hemisphere in this nuclear 



So that it would be an act of rashness and madness for Soviet 
leaders to undertake such an action as an active policy. Because 
everything would have been put in jeopardy or at stake in con- 
nection with such an act. 

It has not been our impression that madness has characterized 
the actions of the Soviet leadership in recent years.^^ 

The Commission accepts Secretary Rusk's estimate as reasonable 
and objective, but recognizes that a precise assessment of Soviet in- 
tentions or interests is most difficult. The Commission has thus exam- 
ined all the known facts regarding Oswald's defection, residence in the 
Soviet Union, and return to the United States. At each step the 
Commission sought to determine whether there was any evidence 
which supported a conclusion that Soviet authorities may have directly 
or indirectly influenced Oswald's actions in assassinating the 

Oswald'' s entry into the Soviet Union. — Although the evidence 
is inconclusive as to the factors which motivated Oswald to go to the 
Soviet Union, there is no indication that he was prompted to do so 
by agents of that country. He may have begun to study the 
Russian language when he was stationed in Japan, which was in- 
termittently from August 1957 to November 1958.®^ After he arrived 
in Moscow in October 1959 he told several persons that he had been 
planning his defection for 2 years, which suggests that the decision 
was made while he was in the Far East.^^ George De Mohrenschildt, 
who met Oswald after his return from the Soviet Union, testified that 
Oswald once told him much the same thing : "I met some Communists 
in J apan and they got me excited and interested, and that was one of 
my inducements in going to Soviet Russia, to see what goes on 
there." This evidence, however, is somewhat at variance with 
Oswald's statements made to two American newspaper reporters in 
Moscow shortly after his defection in 1959,^^^ and to other people in 
the United States after his return in 1962.^°- Though his remarks 
were not inconsistent as to the time he decided to defect, to these 
people he insisted that before going to the Soviet Union he had "never 
met a Communist" and that the intent to defect derived entirely from 
his own reading and thinking. He said much the same to his brother 
in a letter he wrote to him from Russia explaining why he had de- 
fected.^^^ Which of Oswald's statements was the more accurate re- 
mains unknown. 

There is no evidence that Oswald received outside assistance in 
financing his trip to the Soviet Union. After he arrived in Moscow, 
Oswald told a new^spaper correspondent. Aline Mosby, that he had 
saved $1,500 out of his Marine Corps salary to finance his defection,^ ''^ 
although the news story based upon Oswald's interview with Aline 
Mosby unaccountably listed the sum of $1,600 instead of $1,500.1°^ 
After this article had appeared. Marguerite Oswald also related the 
$1,600 figure to an FBI agent.^^^ Either am,ount could have been 
accumulated out of Oswald's earnings in the Marine Corps; during 


his 2 years and 10 months of service he received $3,452.20, after all 
taxes, allotments and other deductions.^^^ Moreover Oswald could 
certainly have made the entire trip on less than $1,000. The ticket on 
the ship he took from New Orleans to Le Havre, France, cost 
$220.75 ; it cost him about $20 to reach London from Le Havre ; 
his plane fare from London to Helsinki, where he received his visa, 
cost him $111.90; he probably purchased Russian "tourist vouchers" 
normally ^ood for room and board for 10 days for $300 ; his train fare 
from Helsinki to Moscow was about $44 ; in Moscow he paid only $1.50 
to $3 a night for his room and very little for his meals after his tourist 
vouchers ran out ; and apparently he did not pay his hotel bill at all 
after November 30, 1959.^^° Oswald's known living habits indicate that 
he could be extraordinarily frugal when he had reason to be, and it 
seems clear that he did have a strong desire to go to the Soviet Union. 

While in Atsugi, Japan, Oswald studied the Russian language, 
perhaps with some help from an officer in his unit who was interested 
in Russian and used to "talk about it" with Oswald occasionally.^" 
He studied by himself a great deal in late 1958 and early 1959 after 
he was transferred from Japan to Califomia.^^^ He took an Army 
aptitude test in Russian in February 1959 and rated "Poor." When 
he reached the Soviet Union in October of the same year he could 
barely speak the language.^^* During the period in Moscow while 
he was awaiting decision on his application for citizenship, his diary 
records that he practiced Russian 8 hours a day.^^^ After he was 
sent to Minsk in early January 1960 he took lessons from an inter- 
preter assigned to him for that purpose by the Soviet Government.^^^ 
Marina Oswald said that by the time she met him in March 1961 he 
spoke the language well enough so that at first she thought he was 
from one of the Baltic areas of her country, because of his accent. 
She stated that his only defects were that his grammar was sometimes 
incorrect and that his writing was never good.^^^ 

Thus, the limited evidence provides no indication that Oswald was 
recruited by Soviet agents in the Far East with a view toward defec- 
tion and eventual return to the United States. Moreover, on its face 
such a possibility is most unlikely. If Soviet agents had communicated 
with Oswald while he was in the Marine Corps, one of the least prob- 
able instructions they would have given him would have been to 
defect. If Oswald had remained a Marine radar specialist, he might 
at some point have reached a position of value as a secret agent. 
However, his defection and the disloyal statements he made publicly 
in connection with it eliminated the possibility that he would ever 
gain access to confidential information or programs of the United 
States. The very fact that he defected, therefore, is itself persuasive 
evidence that he was not recruited as an agent prior to his defection. 

The Commission has investigated the circumstances under which 
Oswald obtained a visa to enter the Soviet Union for possible evidence 
that he received preferential treatment in being permitted to enter the 
country. Oswald left. New Orleans, La., for Europe on September 20, 
1959,^^^ having been released from active duty in the Marine Corps on 


September 11, 1959/^^ He went directly to Helsinki, Finland, by way 
of Le Havre, France, and London, England, arriving at Helsinki on 
Saturday, October 10, 1959. ^^'^ Oswald probably arrived in Helsinki 
too late in the evening to have applied for a visa at the Soviet Union 
consulate that night.^^^ In light of the rapidity with which he made 
connections throughout his entire trip,^^^ he probably applied for a 
visa early on Monday, October 12. On October 14, he was issued 
Soviet Tourist Visa No. 403339, good for one 6- day visit in the 
U.S.S.R.^^^ He left Helsinki on a train destined for Moscow on 
October 15.^24 

The Department of State has advised the Commission that it has 
some information that in 1959 it usually took an American tourist in 
Helsinki 1 to 2 weeks to obtain a visa,^^^ and that it has other informa- 
tion that the normal waiting period during the past 5 years has been 
a week or less.^^e According to the Department's information, the 
waiting period has always varied frequently and widely, with one 
confirmed instance in 1963 of a visa routinely issued in less than 
24 hours.^2^ The Central Intelligence Agency has indicated that visas 
during the 1964 tourist season were being granted in about 5 to 7 

This information from the Department of State and the Central 
Intelligence Agency thus suggests that Oswald's wait for a visa may 
have been shorter than usual but not beyond the range of possible 
variation. The prompt issuance of Oswald's visa may have been 
merely the result of normal procedures, due in part to the fact that 
the summer rush had ended. It might also mean that Oswald was 
unusually urgent in his demands that his visa be issued promptly. 
Oswald himself told officials at the American Embassy in Moscow on 
October 31, when he appeared to renounce his citizenship, that he had 
said nothing to the Soviets about defecting until he arrived in Mos- 
QO^^l29 jj^ ^j^j event, the Commission has found nothing in the cir- 
cumstances of Oswald's entry into the Soviet Union which indicates 
that he was at the time an agent of the U.S.S.R. 

Defection and admission to residence. — Two months and 22 days 
elapsed from Oswald's arrival in Moscow until he left that city to take 
up residence in Minsk. The Commission has considered the possibility 
that Oswald was accepted for residence in the Soviet Union and sent 
to Minsk unusually soon after he arrived, either because he had been 
expected or because during his first weeks in Moscow he developed 
an undercover relationship with the Soviet Government. In doing 
so, the Commission has attempted to reconstruct the events of those 
months, though it is, of course, impossible to account for Oswald's 
activities on every day of that period. 

Oswald's "Historic Diary," which commences on October 16, 1959, 
the date Oswald arrived in Moscow, and other writings he later pre- 
pared,^^^ have provided the Commission with one source of informa- 
tion about Oswald's activities throughout his stay in the Soviet Union. 
Even assuming the diary was intended to be a truthful record, it is not 


an accurate guide to the details of Oswald's activities. Oswald seems 
not to have been concerned about the accuracy of dates and names/^^ 
and apparently made many of his entries subsequent to the date the 
events occurred. Marina Oswald testified that she believed that her 
husband did not begin to keep the diary until he reached Minsk, 3 
months after his arrival in Kussia/^^ and scraps of paper found in 
Oswald's possession, containing much the same information as appears 
in his diary ,1^* suggest that he transcribed the entries into the diary at a 
later time. The substance of Oswald's writings has been carefully 
examined for consistency with all other related information available 
to the Commission. In addition, the writings have been checked for 
handwriting,^^^ and for consistency of style, grammar, and spelling 
with earlier and later writings which are known to be his.^^® No indi- 
cation has been found that entries were written or coached by other 

However, the most reliable information concerning the period 
Oswald spent in Moscow in the latter part of 1962 comes from the 
records of the American Embassy in Moscow,^^^ the testimony of Em- 
bassy officials,^^^ and the notes of two American newspaper reporters, 
Aline Mosby and Priscilla Johnson,^*^ who interviewed Oswald dur- 
ing this period. Oswald's correspondence with his brother and mother 
has also been relied upon for some relatively minor information. 
The findings upon which the Commission based its conclusion con- 
cerning Soviet involvements in the assassination were supported by 
evidence other than material provided by the Soviet Union or 
Oswald's writings. The Central Intelligence Agency has also con- 
tributed data on the normal practices and procedures of the Soviet 
authorities in handling American defectors. 

The "Historic Diary" indicates that on October 16, 1959, the day 
Oswald arrived in Moscow, he told his Intourist guide, Rima 
Shirokova, that he wished to renounce his American citizenship and 
become a Soviet citizen. The same day, the guide reportedly helped 
Oswald prepare a letter to the Soviet authorities requesting citizen- 
ship.^*^ The diary indicates, however, that on October 21 he was 
informed that his visa had expired and that he would be required to 
leave Moscow within 2 hours.^** During the preceding days, accord- 
ing to the diary, he had been interviewed once and perhaps twice by 
Soviet officials. During this period the KGB,* the agency with 

♦The Committee for State Security, best known by its Russian initials, "KGB," is a 
lineal descendant of the revolutionary ChEKA and has passed through numerous changes 
of name since 1917 with little change of function. Presently the KGB handles 
all Soviet counterintelligence operations and is the instrument for various types of sub- 
versive activities. It is responsible for the internal security of the Soviet state and 
the safety of its leaders. In addition it shares responsibility for foreign espionage ac- 
tivities with the intelligence component of the Ministry of Defense, the "GRU." The 
KGB would have the primary responsibility for keeping track of a defector such as 

The Ministry of Internal Affairs or "MVD" was for many years the designation of 
the organization responsible for civil law enforcement and administration of prisons 
and forced labor camps in the Soviet Union. During a part of its history it also directed 
vast economic combines. In January 1960, the central or all-union MVD was abolished 
and its powers transferred to the MVD's of the several Soviet republics. A further change 
took place in the summer of 1962, when the republic MVD's were renamed Ministries fo-r 
the Preservation of Public Order and Safety. In the past few years the republic MVD's 


primary responsibility for examining defectors arriving in Russia, 
undoubtedly investigated Oswald as fully as possible. In 1959, vir- 
tually all Intourist guides were KGB informants, and there is no 
reason to believe that this was not true of Oswald's guide.^^^ 

According to Oswald's diary he attempted suicide when he learned 
his application for citizenship had been denied.^*'' If true, this would 
seem to provide strong evidence that, at least prior to October 21, 
there was no undercover relationship between Oswald and the So- 
viet Government. Though not necessarily conclusive, there is con- 
siderable direct evidence which indicates that Oswald did slash his 
wrist. Oswald's autopsy showed that he had a scar on his left 
VTrist and that it was of the kind which could have been caused by a 
suicide attempt.^*^ The medical records from the Botkinskaya Hos- 
pital in Moscow, furnished by the Soviet Government, reveal that 
from October 21 to October 28 he was treated there for a self-inflicted 
wound on the left wrist. The information contained in these rec- 
ords is consistent with the facts disclosed by the autopsy examination 
relating to Oswald's wrist and to other facts known about Oswald. 
Although no witness recalled Oswald mentioning a suicide attempt,'"^^ 
Marina Oswald testified that w^hen she questioned her husband about 
the scar on his wrist, he became "very angry," and avoided giving 
her a reply.^^^ Oswald's character, discussed in the following chap- 
ter, does not seem inconsistent with a suicide or feigned suicide at- 
tempt, nor with his having failed to disclose the suicide attempt. 
Many witnesses who testified before the Commission observed that he 
was not an "open" or trusting person, had a tendency toward arrogance, 
and was not the kind of man who would readily admit weaknesses.^^- 

Oswald appeared at the American Embassy in Moscow on Octo- 
ber 31, 1959, 3 days after his release from the Botkinskaya Hospital.^^ 
He did not give the officials at the Embassy any indication that 
he had recently received medical treatment.^^* Oswald's appear- 
ance was the first notification to the American Government that he was 
in Russia, since he had failed to inform the Embassy upon his arrival,^^^ 
as most American tourists did at the time.^^^ In appendix XV, Os- 
wald's dealings with the Embassy in 1959 mitil his return to the United 
States in 1962 are described in full, and all action taken by the Ameri- 
can officials on his case is evaluated. His conduct at the Embassy has 
also been considered by the Commission for any indication it may 
provide as to whether or not Oswald was then acting under directions 
of the Soviet Government. 

At the Embassy, Oswald declared that he wished to renounce his 
U.S. citizenship,^" but the consul to whom he spoke, Richard E. 

have been gradually divesting themselves of their economic functions. When Lee Harvey 
Oswald was in the Soviet Union though, the MVD still carried on substantial economic 
activities. For example, inmates of the MVD-administered "corrective labor colonies" 
engaged in brickmaking, heavy construction work, and lumbering. 

In the Commission's report, the term KGB will be used, as above, to describe the prin- 
cipal Soviet counterintelligence and espionage service. Oswald often inaccurately re- 
ferred to the "secret police" as the MVD ; and in any quotations from him, the Commission 
will reproduce his actual words. Whenever the Commission refers to the MVD, it will be 
referring to it as defined in this footnote. 



fooTHHHua „METPOnOilb" 
r. MocKBa 


Commission Exhibit No. 913 


Snyder, refused to accept his renunciation at that time, telling him 
that he \rould have to return to complete the necessary papers.^^® 
However, Oswald did give the consul his passport and a hand- 
written statement requesting that his American citizenship be "re- 
voked" and "affirm [ing] [his] * * * allegiance" to the Soviet 
Union.^«« (See Commission Exhibit No, 913, p. 261.) The FBI has 
confirmed that this statement is in Oswald's handwriting,^^^ and 
Snyder has testified that the letter's phrases are consistent with the 
way Oswald talked and conducted himself .^^^ During the approxi- 
mately 40-minute interview, Oswald also informed Snyder that he 
had been a radar operator in the Marine Corps, intimating that he 
might know something of special interest, and that he had informed 
a Soviet .official that he would give the Soviets any information con- 
cerning the Marine Corps and radar operation which he possessed.^^ 
Although Oswald never filed a formal renunciation, in a letter to 
the Embassy dated November 3, 1959, he again requested that his 
American citizenship be revoked and protested the refusal to accept 
his renunciation on October 31.^^* (See Commission Exhibit No. 
912, p. 263.) 

While at the Embassy and in a subsequent interview with an 
American journalist,^^^ Oswald displayed familiarity with Communist 
ideological arguments, which led those with whom he spoke to specu- 
late that he may have received some instruction from Soviet authori- 
ties. Oswald's familiarity with the law regarding renunciation of 
citizenship, observed by both Embassy officials,^^'' could also be con- 
strued as a sign of coaching by Soviet authorities. However, Oswald 
is known to have been an avid reader and there is evidence that he 
had read Communist literature without guidance while in the Marine 
Corps and before that time.^^^ After his arrival in Moscow, Oswald 
most probably had discussions with his Intourist guide and others,^^^ 
but none of the Americans with whom he talked in Moscow felt that 
his conversations necessarily revealed any type of formal training.^^^ 
The "Historic Diary" indicates that Oswald did not tell his guide that 
he intended to visit the Embassy because he feared she would dis- 
appr,ove.^'2 (gg^ Commission Exhibit No. 24, p. 264.) Though Os- 
wald gave Snyder the impression "of an intelligent person who spoke 
in a manner and on a level, which seemed to befit his apparent level of 
intelligence," correspondent Priscilla J ohnson, who spent about 5 
hours talking with him,^^* received a much less favorable impression : 

He liked to create the pretense, the impression that he was 
attracted to abstract discussion and was capable of engaging in it, 
and was drawn to it. But it was like pricking a balloon. 1 had 
the feeling that if you really did engage him on this ground, you 
very quickly would discover that he didn't have the capacity for 
a logical sustained argument about an abstract point on 
economics or on noneconomic, political matters or any matter, 




iA4> . 

oM> try, J^U^ £t;^ , . 

HOV. OG. 1059 

Commission Exhibit No. 912 



Excerpts from his "Historic Diary" 

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u.^^ TAe ^uSAt ^ecc^^^^ ^ ^^^.^^ 

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Commission Exhibit No. 24 



A comparison of the formal note Oswald handed Snyder and his 
letter of November 3 with the provisions of section 349(a) of the 
Immigration and Nationality Act suggests that Oswald had read 
the statute but understood it imperfectly ; he apparently was trying to 
use three out of the four ways set out in the statute to surrender his 
citizenship, but he succeeded in none. 

Moreover, persuasive evidence that Oswald's conduct was not care- 
fully coached by Soviet agents is provided by some of his actions 
at the Embassy. The single statement which probably caused Oswald 
the most future trouble was his declaration that he had already 
volunteered to a Soviet official that he would, if asked, tell the Soviet 
Government all that he knew about his job in radar as a Marine. 
Certainly a statement of this type w^ould prejudice any possibility 
of his being an effective pro-Communist agent. 

Further, though unquestionably evidencing anti-American senti- 
ments, Oswald's behavior at the Embassy, which brought him ex- 
ceedingly close to expatriation, was unlikely to have increased his 
value in any capacity to the Soviet Union. Eichard E. Snyder, the 
official who interviewed Oswald on October 31, testified that he "had 
every reason to believe" that Oswald would have carried through 
a formal — and therefore effective — renunciation of his American 
citizenship immediately if he had let him.^^^ However, as a defector, 
Oswald could have had considerable propaganda value without ex- 
patriating himself; and if he had expatriated himself his eventual 
return to the United States would have been much more difficult 
and perhaps impossible. If Snyder's assessment of Oswald's inten- 
tions is accurate, it thus tends to refute the suggestion that Oswald 
was being coached by the Soviets. In addition, reporters noticed 
Oswald's apparent ambivalence in regard to renouncing his citizen- 
ship — stormily demanding that he be permitted to renounce while 
failing to follow through by completing the necessary papers — 
behavior which might have detracted from his propaganda value. 

According to Oswald's "Historic Diary" and the documents fur- 
nished to the Commission by the Soviet Government,^^^ Oswald was 
not told that he had been accepted as a resident of the Soviet Union 
until about January 4, 1960. Although on November 13 and 16 Oswald 
informed Aline Mosby and Priscilla Johnson that he had been 
granted permission to remain in the country indefinitely, the diary 
indicates that at that time he had been told only that he could remain 
"until some solution is found with what to do with me." The diary 
is more consistent with the letter Oswald wrote to his brother Robert 
on December 17, saying that he was then, more than a month after he 
saw Johnson and Mosby, about to leave his hotel,^^^ and with some later 
correspondence with his mother. Oswald mailed a short note to his 
mother which she received in Texas on J anuary 5 ; that same day she 
mailed a money order to him in Moscow, but it apparently got there 
too late, because she received it back, unopened, on February 25.^^^ 
Oswald's conflicting statement to the correspondents also seems rec- 
oncilable with his very apparent desire to appear important to others. 

730-900 0-64— 19 


Moreover, so long as Oswald continued to stay in a hotel in Moscow, 
the inference is that the Soviet authorities had not yet decided to 
accept him.^^® This inference is supported by information supplied 
by the CIA on the handling of other defectors in the Soviet Union.^^^ 
Thus, the evidence is strong that Oswald waited at least until No- 
vember 16, when he saw Miss Johnson, and it is probable that he was 
required to wait until January 4, a little over 2% months from Octo- 
ber 16, before his application to remain in Russia was granted. In 
mid-November Miss Johnson asked Oswald whether the Russians 
were encouraging his defection, to which Oswald responded: "The 
Russians are treating it like a legal formality. They don't encourage 
you and they don't discourage you." And, when the Soviet Gov- 
ernment finally acted, Oswald did not receive Soviet citizenship, as 
he had requested, but merely permission to reside in Russia on a year- 
to-year basis.^^^ 

Asked to comment upon the length of time, 2 months and 22 days, 
that probably passed before Oswald was granted the right to remain 
in the Soviet Union, the CIA has advised that "when compared to five 
other defector cases, this procedure seems unexceptional." Simi- 
larly, the Department of State reports that its information "indicated 
that a 2-month waiting period is not unusual." The full response 
of the CIA is as follows : 

Oswald said that he asked for Soviet citizenship on 16 October 
1959. According to his diary, he received word a month later 
that he could stay in the USSR pending disposition of his re- 
quest, but it was another month and a half before he was given 
his stateless passport. 

When compared to five other defector cases, this procedure 
seems unexceptional. Two defectors from US Army intel- 
ligence imits in West Germany appear to have been given citizen- 
ship immediately, but both had prior KGB connections and fled 
as a result of Army security checks. Of the other three cases, 
one was accepted after not more than five weeks and given a 
stateless passport apparently at about the same time. The 
second was immediately given permission to stay for a while, 
and his subsequent request for citizenship was granted three 
months later. The third was allowed to stay after he made 
his citizenship request, but almost two months passed before he 
was told that he had been accepted. Although the Soviet Minis- 
try of Foreign Affairs soon after told the US Embassy that 
he was a Soviet citizen, he did not receive his document until 
five or six months after initial application. We know of only 
one case in which an American asked for Soviet citizenship but 
did not take up residence in the USSR. In that instance, the 
American changed his mind and voluntarily returned to the 
United States less than three weeks after he had requested Soviet 


The Department of State has commented as follows : 

The files of the Department of State reflect the fact that 
Oswald first applied for permission to remain in Russia perma- 
nently, or at least for a long period, when he arrived in Moscow, 
and that he obtained permission to remain within one or two 

A. Is the fact that he obtained permission to stay within this 
period of time usual ? 

Answer — Our information indicates that a two months wait- 
ing period is not unusual. In the case of [name withheld] the 
Supreme Soviet decided within two months to give Soviet citizen- 
ship and he was thereafter, of course, permitted to stay. 

B. Can you tell us what the normal procedures are under 
similar circumstances ? 

Answer — It is impossible for us to state any "normal" pro- 
cedures. The Soviet Government never publicizes the proceed- 
ings in these cases or the reasons for its action. Furthermore, it 
is, of course, extremely unusual for an American citizen to 

The information relating to Oswald's suicide attempt indicates 
that his application to remain in the Soviet Union was probably re- 
jected about 6 days after his arrival in Moscow. Since the KGB 
is the Soviet agency responsible for the initial handling of all de- 
fectors,^^® it seems likely that the original decision not to accept Os- 
wald was made by the KGB. That Oswald was permitted to remain 
in Moscow after his release from the hospital suggests that another 
ministry of the Soviet Government may have intervened on his 
behalf. This hypothesis is consistent with entries in the "Historic 
Diary" commenting that the officials Oswald met after his hospital 
treatment were different from those with whom he had dealt be- 
fore.^®^ The most plausible reason for any such intervention may 
well have been apprehension over the publicity that would follow 
the rejection of a devout convert to the Communist cause. 

Oswald^s Life in Minsk. — According to the "Historic Diary" and 
docmnents received from the Soviet Government,^®^ Oswald 
resided in the city of Minsk from January 1960 until June 1962. 
Oswald's life in Minsk is the portion of his life concerning 
which the least is known. The primary sources of information 
are Oswald's own writings and the testimony of Marina Oswald. 
Other evidence, however, establishes beyond doubt that Oswald 
was in fact located in Minsk on at least two occasions. The 
Conmiission has obtained two photographs which were taken by 
American tourists in Minsk in August 1961 in which Oswald ap- 
pears.^°^ The tourists did not know Oswald, nor did they speak 
with him; they remembered only that several men gathered near 
their car.^^^ (See Kramer Exhibit 1, p. 268.) In addition, Os- 
wald was noticed in Minsk by a student who was traveling with 



the University of Michigan band on a tour of Enssia in the 
spring of 1961.^^ Oswald corresponded with the American Em- 
bassy in Moscow from Minsk,^^^ and wrote letters from Minsk 
to his family in the United States.^* Oswald and his wife 
have many photographs taken of themselves which show Minsk back- 
grounds and persons who are identifiable as residents of Minsk.^^^ 
After he returned to the United States, Oswald conversed about the 
city with Kussian-born American citizens who were familiar with it.^^^ 
Marina Oswald is also familiar with the city. 2*^^ The Commission has 
also been able independently to verify the existence in Minsk of many 
of the acquaintances of Oswald and his wife whom they said they 
knew there.^os (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 1392, 1395, 2606, 2609, 
2612 and 2623, pp. 270-271.) 

Once he was accepted as a resident alien in the Soviet Union, Os- 
wald was given considerable benefits which ordinary Soviet citizens 
in his position in society did not have. The "Historic Diary" recites 
that after Oswald was informed that he could remain in the Soviet 
Union and was being sent to Minsk he was given 5,000 rubles* ($500) 
by the "Red Cross, * * * for expenses." He used 2,200 rubles to pay 
his hotel bill, and another 150 rubles to purchase a train ticket. With 
the balance of slightly over 2,500 rubles, Oswald felt, according to the 
diary, like a rich man.^^^ Oswald did not receive free living quarters, 
as the diary indicates the "Mayor" of Minsk promised him,^^^ but about 
6 weeks after his arrival he did receive an apartment, very pleasant by 
Soviet standards, for which he was required to pay only 60 rubles 
($6.00) a month. Oswald considered the apartment "almost rent 
free." Oswald was given a job in the "Byelorussian Eadio and 
Television Factory," where his pay on a per piece basis ranged from 
700 to 900 rubles ($70-$90) a month.^^^ According to his wife, this 
rate of pay was average for people in his occupation but good by 
Soviet standards generally.^^^ She explained that piecework rates 
throughout the Soviet Union have generally grown out of line with 
compensation for other j obs.^^* The CIA has confirmed that this condi- 
tion exists in many areas and occupations in the Soviet Union.^^^ In 
addition to his salary, Oswald regularly received 700 rubles ($70) per 
month from the Soviet "Eed Cross." The well-paying job, the 
monthly subsidy, and the "almost rent-free" apartment combined to 
give Oswald more money than he needed. The only complaint re- 
corded in the "Historic Diary" is that there was "no place to spend 
the money." ^^'^ 

The Commission has found no basis for associating Oswald's pre- 
ferred income with Soviet undercover activity. Marina Oswald testi- 
fied that foreign nationals are commonly given special treatment in 
the Soviet Union,^^^ and the Central Intelligence Agency has con- 
firmed that it is standard practice in the Soviet Union for Americans 
and other foreign defectors from countries with high standards 
of living to be "subsidized." Apparently it is Soviet practice 

♦About a year after Oswald received this money, the ruble was revalued to about 10 times 
its earlier value. 









IN U. S. S. R. 

to attempt to make life sufficiently pleasant for a foreign defector so 
that he will not become disillusioned and return to his native country. 
The Commission has also assumed that it is customary for Soviet in- 
telligence agencies to keep defectors under surveillance during their 
residence in the Soviet Union, through periodic mterviews of neigh- 
bors and associates of the def ector.^^o Oswald once mentioned that the 
Soviet police questioned his neighbors occasionally."! 

Moreover, it is from Oswald's personal writings alone that the Com- 
mission has learned that he received supplementary funds from the 
Soviet "Red Cross." In the notes he made during the return trip 
to the United States Oswald recognized that the "Red Cross" subsidy 
had nothing to do with the well-known International Red Cross. He 
frankly stated that the money was paid to him for having "denounced" 
the United States and that it had come from the "MVD." Os- 
wald's papers reveal that the "Red Cross" subsidy was terminated 
as soon as he wrote the American Embassy in Moscow in February 
1961 askmg that he be permitted to retum.^^^ (See Commission Ex- 
hibit No. 25, p. 273.) Marina Oswald's testimony confirmed this; 
she said that when she knew Oswald he no longer was receiving the 
monthly grant but still retained some of the savings accmiiulated in 
the months when he had been receiving it.^^* Since she met Oswald in 
March and married him in April of 1961, her testimony was con- 
sistent with his records. 

The nature of Oswald's employment while in Minsk has been ex- 
amined by the Commission. The factory in which he worked was a 
large plant manufacturing electronic parts and radio and television 
sets. Marina Oswald has testified that he was an "apprentice ma- 
chinist" and "ground small metallic parts for radio receivers, on a 
lathe." 2^ So far as can be determined, Oswald never straight- 
forwardly described to anyone else in the United States exactly what 
his job was in the Soviet Union .^^^ Some of his acquaintances in 
Dallas and Fort Worth had the impression that he was disappointed 
in having been given a menial job and not assigned to an institution 
of higher learning in the Soviet Union.^^^ Marina Oswald confirmed 
this and also testified that her husband was not interested in his work 
and not regarded at the factory as a very good worker.^^^ The docu- 
ments furnished to the Commission by the Soviet government were 
consistent with her testimony on this point, since they included a re- 
port from Oswald's superior at the factory which is critical of his 
performance on the job.^^^ Oswald's employment and his job per- 
formance are thus consistent with his known occupational habits in 
this country and otherwise afford no ground for suspicion. 

Oswald's membership in a hunting club while he was in the Soviet 
Union has been a matter of special interest to the Commission. One 
Russian emigre testified that this was a suspicious circumstance be- 
cause no one in the Soviet Union is permitted to own a gun for 
pleasure.23*^ The Commission's investigation, however, has estab- 
lished that this is not so. The Central Intelligence Agency has 
advised the Commission that hunting societies such as the one to 





"^-^ J^I^ -^/^^ 

~ ^ .^-tv^? 


which Oswald belonged are very popular in the Soviet Union.^^^ They 
are frequently sponsored by factories for their employees, as was 
Oswald's.^^2 Moreover, Soviet citizens (or foreigners residing in the 
Soviet Union) are permitted to own shotguns, but not rifles, without 
joining a society; all that is necessary is that the gun be registered 
at the local militia office immediately after it has been purchased."^ 
Experts from the Central Intelligence Agency have examined Os- 
wald's club membership certificate and gun permit and expressed 
the opinion that its terms and numbers are consistent with other in- 
formation the CIA has about the Soviet Union.^^* 

Marina Oswald testified that her husband went hunting only on one 
occasion during the time of their marriage.^^^ However, Oswald 
apparently joined the Byelorussian Society of Hunters and Fishermen 
in the summer of 1960 and did not marry until April 30, 1961,^^^ 
so he could have been more active while he was still a bachelor. 
Oswald made no secret of his membership in the hunting club. He 
mentioned it on occasion to friends after he returned to the United 
States ; discussed it at some length in a speech at a Jesuit Seminary 
in Mobile, Ala., in the summer of 1962 ; included it in his correspond- 
ence with his brother Robert ; and kept his membership certificate 
and gun permit until the day he was killed. In view of 
these facts, it is unlikely that Oswald's membership in a hunting club 
was contrived to conceal some sort of secret training. Moreover, the 
CIA has informed the Commission that it is in possession of con- 
siderable information on the location of secret Soviet training insti- 
tutions and that it knows of no such institution in or near Minsk 
during the time Oswald was there.^*^ 

Oswald's marriage to Marina Prusakova on April 30, 1961,^** is itself 
a fact meriting consideration. A foreigner living in Russia cannot 
marry without the permission of the Soviet Government It seems 
unlikely that the Soviet authorities would have permitted Oswald to 
marry and to take his wife with him to the United States if they 
were contemplating using him alone as an agent. The fact that he 
had a Russian wife would be likely, in their view, to increase any 
surveillance under which he would be kept by American security 
agencies, would make him even more conspicuous to his neighbors as 
"an ex-Russian," and would decrease his mobility. A wife's presence 
in the United States would also constitute a continuing risk of dis- 
closure. On the other hand, Marina Oswald's lack of English training 
and her complete ignorance of the United States and its customs 
would scarcely recommend her to the Soviet authorities as one 
member of an "agent team" to be sent to the United States on a diffi- 
cult and dangerous foreign enterprise. 

OswaWs departure from the Soviet Union. — On February 13, 1961, 
the American Embassy in Moscow received a letter from Oswald 
postmarked Minsk, February 5, asking that he be readmitted to the 
United States.^*^ This was the first time that the Embassy had heard 
from or about Oswald since November 16, 1959.^*^ The end of the 
15-month silence came only a few days after the Department of State 


in Washington had forwarded a request to the Moscow Embassy on 
February 1, 1961, informing the Embassy that Oswald's mother was 
worried about him, and asking that he get in touch with her if pos- 
sible.2*^ The simultaneity of the two events was apparently co- 
incidental. The request from Marguerite Oswald went from Wash- 
ington to Moscow by sealed diplomatic pouch and there was no 
evidence that the seal had been tampered with.^^^ The officer of the 
Department of State who carried the responsibility for such matters 
has testified that the message was not forwarded to the Russians after 
it arrived in Moscow.^^^ 

Oswald's letter does not seem to have been designed to ingratiate 
him with the Embassy officials. It starts by incorrectly implying 
that he had written an earlier letter that was not answered, states 
that he will return to the United States only if he can first "come to 
some agreement" on there being no legal charges brought against 
him, and ends with a reminder to the officials at the Embassy that 
they have a responsibility to do everything they can to help him, since 
he is an American citizen.^^^ 

The Embassy's response to this letter was to invite Oswald to come 
personally to Moscow to discuss the matter.^^^ Oswald at first pro- 
tested because of the difficulty of obtaining Soviet permission.^^* He 
wrote two more protesting letters during the following 4 months,^^^ 
but received no indication that the Embassy would allow him to handle 
the matter by mail.^^^ While the Department of State was clarifying 
its position on this matter,^^^ Oswald unexpectedly appeared in Mos- 
cow on Saturday, July 8, 1961.^^® On Sunday, Marina Oswald flew to 
Moscow,^^^ and was interviewed by officials in the American Embassy 
on Tuesday.2«o 

The Commission asked the Department of State and the Central 
Intelligence Agency to comment on whether the Oswalds' travel to 
Moscow without permission signified special treatment by the Soviet 
Union. From their responses, it appears that since Marina Oswald 
possessed a Soviet citizen's internal passport, she did not require prior 
approval to make the trip.^^i Although Soviet law did require her 
husband, as the holder of a "stateless passport," to obtain advance 
permission for the trip, his failure to do so would not normally have 
been considered a serious violation. In this respect, the CIA has 
advised the Commission as follows : 

OSWALD'S travel from Minsk to Moscow and return in July 
1961 would normally have required prior authorization. Bearers 
of a Soviet "passport for foreigners" {vid na zhitelstov v. SSSR 
dlya innostrantsa) are required to obtain travel authorization 
from the Visa and Registration Department (OVIR) (or Pass- 
port Registration Department (PRO) in smaller towns) if they 
desire to leave the city (or oblast) where they are domiciled. 
This same requirement is believed to apply to persons, such as 
OSWALD, holding Soviet "stateless passports" {vid na zhitel- 
stvo V. SSSR dlya lits hez grazhdanstva) . 


The practicality of even "unauthorized" travel was demon- 
strated by events related by a United States citizen who defected 
in 1960, and subsequently was sent to Kiev to study. After re- 
patriating this defector told U.S. authorities he had made a total 
of seven unauthorized trips from Kiev during his stay in the 
USSR. He was apprehended on two of his flights and was re- 
turned to Kiev each time, the second time under escort. On both 
occasions he was merely reprimanded by the deputy chief of the 
institute at which he was studying. Since Marina had a Soviet 
citizen's internal passport there would have been no restrictions 
against her making the trip to Moscow.^®^ 

The answers of the Department of State, together with the Commis- 
sion's specific questions, are as follows : 

B. Could resident foreigners normally travel in this manner 
without first obtaining such permission ? 

Answer — There are only a few U.S. nationals now living in 
the Soviet Union. They include an American Roman Catholic 
priest, an American Protestant minister, a number of correspond- 
ents, some students and technical advisers to Soviet businesses. 
We know that the priest, the minister, the correspondents and 
the students must obtain permission from Soviet authorities be- 
fore taking any trips. The technical advisers notify officials of 
their project before they travel and these officials personally 
inform the militia. 

C. If travel of this type was not freely permitted, do you be- 
lieve that Oswald normally would have been apprehended during 
the attempt or punished after the fact for traveling without 
permission ? 

Ansioer — Based on the information we have, we believe that if 
Oswald went to Moscow without permission, and this was known 
to the Soviet authorities, he would have been fined or reprimanded. 
Oswald was not, of course, an average foreign resident. He was 
a defector from a foreign country and the bearer of a Soviet 
internal "stateless" passport * * * during the time when he was 
contemplating the visit to Moscow to come to the Embassy * * * 

The Soviet authorities probably knew about Oswald's trip even 
if he did not obtain advance permission, since in most instances the 
Soviet militia guards at the Embassy ask for the documents of 
unidentified persons entering the Embassy grounds * * * 

An American citizen who, with her American citizen husband, 
went to the Soviet Union to live permanently and is now trying 
to obtain permission to leave, informed the Embassy that she had 
been fined for not getting permission to go from Odessa to Moscow 
on a recent trip to visit the Embassy. 

D. Even if such travel did not have to be authorized, do you 
have any information or observations regarding the practicality 
of such travel by Soviet citizens or persons in Oswald's status ? 


j Answer — It is impossible to generalize in this area. We under- 
I stand from interrogations of former residents in the Soviet Union 
who were considered "stateless" by Soviet authorities that they 
were not permitted to leave the town where they resided without 
permission of the police. In requesting such permission they 
were required to fill out a questionnaire giving the reason for 
travel, length of stay, addresses of individuals to be visited, etc. 

Notwithstanding these requirements, we know that at least one 
"stateless" person often traveled without permission of the au- 
thorities and stated that police stationed at railroad stations 
usually spotchecked the identification papers of every tenth 
traveler, but that it was an easy matter to avoid such checks. 
Finally, she stated that persons who were caught evading the 
registration requirements were returned to their home towns by 
the police and sentenced to short jail terms and fined. These 
sentences were more severe for repeated violations.^®^ 

When Oswald arrived at the Embassy in Moscow, he met Kichard 
E. Snyder, the same person with whom he had dealt in October of 
1959.2^* Primarily on the basis of Oswald's interview with Snyder on 
Monday, July 10, 1961, the American Embassy concluded that Oswald 
had not expatriated himself .^"^^ ( See app. XV, pp. 7 52-7 60. ) On the 
basis of this tentative decision, Oswald was given back his Ameri- 
can passport, which he had surrendered in 1959.^^^ The document was 
due to expire in September 1961,^^^ however, and Osw^ald was informed 
that its renewal would depend upon the ultimate decision by the De- 
partment of State on his expatriation.^^® On July 11, Marina Oswald 
was interviewed at the Embassy and the steps necessary for her to 
obtain an American visa were begun.^^^ In May 1962, after 15 months 
of dealings with the Embassy, Oswald's passport was ultimately re- 
newed and permission for his wife to enter the United States was 

The files on Oswald and his wife compiled by the Depart aent of 
State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service contain no 
indication of any expert guidance by Soviet authorities in Oswald's 
dealings with the Department or the Service. For example, the 
letters from Minsk to the Embassy in Moscow, which are in his 
handwriting,^^^ display the arrogant attitude which was characteris- 
tic of him both before and after he lived in Russia, and, when com- 
pared with other letters that were without doubt composed and 
written by him,^^^ show about the same low level of sophistication, 
i fluency, and spelling, ^he Department officer who most frequently 
dealt with Oswald when he began negotiations to return to the 
United States, Eichard E. Snyder, testified that he can recall nothing 
j that indicated Oswald was being guided or assisted by a third party 
I when he appeared at the Embassy in July 1961.^^^ On the contrary, 
I the arrogant and presumptuous attitude which Oswald displayed in 
I his correspondence with the Embassy from early 1961 until June 
I 1962,2^5 ^]^en he finally departed from Russia, undoubtedly hindered 


his attempts to return to the United States. Snyder has testified that 
although he made a sincere effort to treat Oswald's application objec- 
tively, Oswald's attitude made this very difficult.^^^ 

In order to leave Russia, it was also necessary for the Oswalds to 
obtain permission from the Soviet Government. The timing and 
circumstances under which the Oswalds obtained this permission 
have also been considered by the Commission. Marina Oswald, al- 
though her memory is not clear on the point, said that she and Oswald 
first made their intentions to go to the United States known to 
Soviet officials in Minsk in May, even before coming to Moscow in 
July for the conference at the American Embassy .^^^ The Oswalds' 
correspondence with the Embassy and the documents furnished the 
Commission by the Soviet Government show that the Oswalds made 
a series of formal applications to the Soviets from July 15 to Au- 
gust 21.2^^ Presumably the most difficult question for the Soviet 
authorities was whether to allow^ Marina Oswald to accompany her 
husband. She was called to the local passport office in Minsk on 
December 25, 1961, and told that authority had been received to 
issue exit visas to her and Oswald.^^^ Obtaining the permission of 
the Soviet Government to leave may have been aided by a conference 
which Marina Oswald had, at her own request, with a local MVD of- 
ficial, Colonel Aksenov, sometime in late 1961. She testified that she 
applied for the conference at her husband's urging, after he had tried 
unsuccessfully to arrange such a conference for himself. She be- 
lieved that it may have been granted her because her uncle with whom 
she had lived in Minsk before her marriage was also an MVD official.-**^ 

The correspondence with the American Embassy at this time re- 
flected that the Oswalds did not pick up their exit visas immediately.^®- 
On January 11, 1962, Marina Oswald was issued her Soviet exit visa. 
It was marked valid until December 1, 1962.^^^ The Oswalds did 
not leave Russia until June 1962, but the additional delay was caused 
by problems with the U.S. Government and by the birth of a child in 
February .2^^ Permission of the Soviet authorities to leave, once given, 
was never revoked. Oswald told the FBI in July 1962, shortly after 
he returned to the United States, that he had been interviewed by 
the MVD twice, once when he first came to the Soviet Union and 
once just before he departed.^^^ His wife testified that the second 
interview did not occur in Moscow but that she and her husband dealt 
with the MVD visa officials frequently in Minsk.^^^ 

Investigation of the circumstances, including the timing, under 
which the Oswalds obtained permission from the Soviet Government 
to leave Russia for the United States show that they differed in no 
discernible manner from the normal. The Central Intelligence 
Agency has informed the Commission that normally a Soviet national 
would not be permitted to emigrate if he might endanger Soviet 
national security once he went abroad.^" Those persons in possession 
of confidential information, for example, would constitute an im- 


portant category of such "security risks." Apparently Oswald's 
predeparture interview by the MVD was part of an attempt to 
ascertain whether he or his wife had access to any confidential 
information. Marina Oswald's reported interview with the MVD 
in late 1961, which was arranged at her request, may have served the 
same purpose. The Commission's awareness of both interviews 
derives entirely from Oswald's and his wife's statements and letters 
to the American Embassy, which afford additional evidence that the 
conferences carried no subversive significance. 

It took the Soviet authorities at least 5i/^ months, from about July 
15, 1961, until late December, to grant permission for the Oswalds 
to leave the country. When asked to comment upon the alleged rapid- 
ity of the Oswalds' departure, the Department of State advised the 
Commission : 

* * * In the immediate post-war period there were about nf- 
teen marriages in which the wife had been waiting for many years 
for a Soviet exit permit. After the death of Stalin the Soviet 
Government showed a disposition to settle these cases. In the 
summer of 1953 permission was given for all of this group of 
Soviet citizen wives to accompany their American citizen hus- 
bands to the United States. 

Since this group was given permission to leave the Soviet Union, 
there have been from time to time marriages in the Soviet Union 
of American citizens and Soviet citizens. With one exception, it 
is our understanding that all of the Soviet citizens involved have 
been given permission to emigrate to the United States after wait- 
ing periods which were, in some cases from three to six months 
and in others much longer. 

Both the Department of State and the Central Intelligence Agency 
compiled data for the Commission on Soviet wives of American citi- 
zens who received exit visas to leave the Soviet Union, where the rele- 
vant information was available. In both cases the data were consistent 
with the above conclusion of the State Department. The Department 
of State had sufficient information to measure the timespan in 14 cases. 
The Department points out that it has information on the dates of 
application for and receipt of Soviet exit visas only on those cases 
that have been brought to its attention. A common reason for bring- 
ing a case to the attention of the Department is that the granting of 
the exit visa by the Soviet Union has been delayed, so that the Ameri- 
can spouse seeks the assistance of his own government. It therefore 
appears that the sampling data carry a distinct bias toward lengthy 
waiting periods. Of the 14 cases tested, 6 involve women who applied 
for visas after 1953, when the liberalized post-Stalin policy was in 
effect. The approximate waiting periods for these wives were, in 
decreasing order, 13 months, 6 months, 3 months, 1 month, and 10 
days.^^ Of the 11 cases examined by the Central Intelligence Agency 


in which the time period is known or can be inferred, the Soviet wives 
had to wait from 5 months to a year to obtain exit visas.^®^ 

In his correspondence with the American Embassy and his brother 
while he was in Russia,^^^ in his diary j^^^ and in his conversations 
with people in the United States after he retumed,^^^ Oswald claimed 
that his wife had been subjected to pressure by the Soviet Government 
in an effort to induce her not to emigrate to the United States. In the 
Embassy correspondence, Oswald claimed that the pressure had been 
so intense that she had to be hospitalized for 5 days for "nervous ex- 
haustion." Marina Oswald testified that her husband exaggerated 
and that no such hospitalization or "nervous exhaustion" ever 
occurred.^^^ However, she did testify that she was questioned on the 
matter occasionally and given the impression that her government 
was not pkased with her decision.^^^ Her aunt and uncle in Minsk did 
not speak to her "for a long time" ; she also stated that she was dropped 
from membership in the Communist Youth Organization (Kom- 
somol) when the news of her visit to the American Embassy in 
Moscow reached that organization.^^^ A student who took Russian 
lessons from her in Texas testified that she once referred to the days 
when the pressure was applied as "a very horrible time." Despite all 
this Marina Oswald testified that she was surprised that their visas 
were granted as soon as they were — and that hers was granted at all.^®® 
This evidence thus indicates that the Soviet authorities, rather than 
facilitating the departure of the Oswalds, first tried to dissuade 
Marina Oswald from going to the United States and then, when she 
failed to respond to the pressure, permitted her to leave without un- 
due delay. There are indications that the Soviet treatment of another 
recent defector who left the Soviet Union to return to the United 
States resembled that accorded to the Oswalds. 

On the basis of all the foregoing evidence, the Commission concluded 
that there was no reason to believe that the Oswalds received unusually 
favorable treatment in being permitted to leave the Soviet Union. 

Associations in the Dallas-Fort Worth Community 

The Russian- speahing community. — Shortly after his return from 
Russia in June 1962, Oswald and his family settled in Fort Worth, 
Tex., where they met a group of Russian-bom or Russian-speaking 
persons in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.^°^ The members of this com- 
munity were attracted to each other by common background, language, 
and culture. Many of them were well-educated, accomplished, and 
industrious people, several being connected with the oil explora- 
tion, production, and processing industry that flourishes in the 
Dallas-Fort Worth area.^^ As described more fully in chapter VII 
and in appendix XIII, many of these persons assisted the Oswalds 
in various ways. Some provided the Oswalds with gifts of such 
things as food, clothing, and baby furniture.^°^ Some arranged 
appointments and transportation for medical and dental treatment, 
and assumed the cost in some instances.^^* When Oswald under- 


took to look for employment in Dallas in early October of 1962 and 
again when marital difficulties arose between the Oswalds in November 
of the same year, Marina Oswald and their child were housed at times 
in the homes of various members of the group.^°^ The Commission 
has examined the background of many of these individuals and has 
thoroughly investigated Oswald's relationship with them. 

There is no basis to suppose that Oswald came to Fort Worth upon 
his return from Russia for the purpose of establishing contacts with 
the Russian- speaking community located in that area. Oswald had 
spent several of his grammar-school years in Fort Worth.^°® In 1962, 
his brother Robert lived in Fort Worth and his mother resided in 
nearby Vernon, Tex. In January of that year, Oswald indicated to 
American officials in Russia that he intended to stay with his mother 
upon his return to the United States ; however, sometime after mid- 
February, he received an invitation to stay with R,obert and his 
family until he became settled, and he did spend the first several weeks 
after his return at Robert's home.^^^ In J uly, Oswald's mother moved 
to Fort Worth and Oswald and his wife and child moved into an 
apartment with her.^°® While in that apartment, Oswald located a 
job in Fort Worth and then rented and moved with his family into 
an apartment on Mercedes Street.^^^ 

Upon his arrival in 1962, Oswald did not know any members of the 
relatively small and loosely knit Russian-speaking community 
Shortly after his arrival Oswald obtained the name of two Russian- 
speaking persons in Fort Worth from the office of the Texas Employ- 
ment Commission in that city.^^^ Attempts to arrange a prompt visit 
with one of them failed.^^^ The second person, Peter Paul Gregory, 
was a consulting petroleum engineer and part-time Russian-language 
instructor at the Fort Worth Public Library. Oswald contacted him 
in order to obtain a letter certifying to his proficiency in Russian 
and Marina Oswald later tutored his son in the Russian language.®^^ 
Gregory introduced the Oswalds to George Bouhe and Anna Meller, 
both of whom lived in Dallas and became interested in the welfare of 
Marina Oswald and her child.^^* Through them, other members of the 
Russian community became acquainted with the Oswalds.^^^ 

The Oswalds met some 30 persons in the Russian-speaking 
community, of whom 25 testified before the Commission or its staff ; 
others were interviewed on behalf of the Commission.^^^ This range of 
testimony has disclosed that the relationship between Lee Harvey 
Oswald and the Russian-speaking community was short lived and 
generally quite strained.^^'^ During October and November of 1962 
Marina Oswald lived at the homes of some of the members of the Rus- 
sian-speaking community .^^^ She stayed first with Elena Hall while 
Oswald was looking for work in Dallas.^^^ In early November, Marina 
Oswald and the baby joined Oswald in Dallas, but soon thereafter, 
she spent approximately 2 weeks with different Russian-speaking 
friends during another separation.^^ Oswald openly resented the 
help Marina's "Russian friends" gave to him and his wife and the 
efforts of some of them to induce Marina to leave him.^^^ George 


730-900 0-64— 20 

Bouhe attempted to dissuade Marina from returning to her husband 
in November 1962, and when she rejoined him, Bouhe became dis- 
pleased with her as well.^^^ Kelations between the Oswalds and the 
members of the Russian community had practically ceased by the end 
of 1962. Katherine Ford, one of the members of the group, summed 
up the situation as it existed at the end of January 1963 : "So it was 
rather, sort of, Marina and her husband were dropped at that time, 
nobody actually wanted to help. * * *" 

In April of 1963, Oswald left Fort Worth for New Orleans, where 
he was later joined by his wife and daughter, and remained until 
his trip to Mexico City in late September and his subsequent return 
to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in early October of 1963.^24 ^j^j-^ ^^^ly 
minor exceptions,^^ there is no evidence that any member of the 
Russian-speaking community had further contact with Oswald or 
his family after April.^^® In New Orleans, Oswald made no at- 
tempt to make new Russian-speaking acquaintances for his wife 
and there is no evidence that he developed any friendships in that 
city.^2^ Similarly, after the return from New Orleans, there seems 
to have been no communication between the Oswalds and this group 
until the evening of November 22, 1963, when the Dallas Police 
enlisted Ilya Mamantov to serve as an interpreter for them in their 
questioning of Marina Oswald.^^® 

George De Mohrenschildt and his wife, both of whom speak Russian 
as well as several other languages, however, did continue to see the 
Oswalds on occasion up to about the time Oswald went to New Or- 
leans on April 24, 1963. De Mohrenschildt was apparently the only 
Russian-speaking person living in Dallas for whom Oswald had ap- 
preciable respect, and this seems to have been true even though De 
Mohrenschildt helped Marina Oswald leave her husband for a 
period in November of 1962. 

In connection with the relations between Oswald and De !Mohren- 
schildt, the Commission has considered testimony concerning an event 
which occurred shortly after Oswald shot at General Walker. The 
De Mohrenschildts came to Oswald's apartment on Neely Street for 
the first time on the evening of April 13, 1963, apparently to bring an 
Easter gift for the Oswald child.^^^ Mrs. De Mohrenschildt testi- 
fied that while Marina Oswald was showing her the apartment, she 
saw a rifle with a scope in a closet. Mrs. De Mohrenschildt then 
told her husband, in the presence of the Oswalds, that there was a 
rifle in the closet.^^^ Mrs. De Mohrenschildt testified that "George, 
of course, with his sense of humor — ^^Valker was shot at a few days ago, 
within that time. He said, 'Did you take a pot shot at Walker by any 
chance?' " At that point, Mr. De Mohrenschildt testified, Oswald 
"sort of shriveled, you see, when I asked this question. * * * made 
a peculiar face * * * [and] changed the expression on his face" and 
remarked that he did targetshooting.^^ Marina Oswald testified that 
the De Mohrenschildts came to visit a few days after the Walker inci- 
dent and that when De Mohrenschildt made his reference to Oswald's 
possibly shooting at Walker, Oswald's "face changed, * * * he abnost 


became speechless." According to the De Mohrenschildts, Mr. 
De Mohrenschildt's remark was intended as a joke, and he had no 
knowledge of Oswald's involvement in the attack on Walker.^^^ 
Nonetheless, the remark appears to have created an uncomfortable 
silence, and the De Mohrenschildts left "very soon afterwards." They 
never saw either of the Oswalds again.^^^ They left in a few days on 
a trip to New York City and did not return until after Oswald had 
gone to New Orleans.^^^ A postcard from Oswald to De Mohren- 
schildt was apparently the only contact they had thereafter.^^^ The 
De Mohrenschildts left in early June for Haiti on a business venture, 
and they were still residing there at the time they testified on April 23, 

Extensive investigation has been conducted into the background 
of both De Mohrenschildts.^*^ The investigation has revealed that 
George De Mohrenschildt is a highly individualistic person of varied 
interests. He was bom in the Russian Ukraine in 1911 and fled Rus- 
sia with his parents in 1921 during the civil disorder following the 
revolution. He was in a Polish cavalry military academy for 1% years. 
Later he studied in Antwerp and attended the University of Liege 
from which he received a doctor's degree in international commerce 
in 1928. Soon thereafter, he emigrated to the United States ; he be- 
came a U.S. citizen in 1949.^*^ De Mohrenschildt eventually became 
interested in oil exploration and production ; he entered the University 
of Texas in 1944 and received a master's degree in petroleum geology 
and petroleum engineering in 1945 .^^^ He has since become active as a 
petroleum engineer throughout the world.^*^ In 1960, after the death 
of his son, he and his wife made an 8-month hike from the L^ited 
States- Mexican border to Panama over primitive jungle trails. By 
happenstance they were in Guatemala City at the time of the Bay of 
Pigs invasion.^** A lengthy film and complete written log was pre- 
pared by De Mohrenschildt and a report of the trip was made to the 
U.S. Government. LTpon arriving in Panama they journeyed to 
Haiti where De Mohrenschildt eventually became involved in a Gov- 
ernment-oriented business venture in which he has been engaged con- 
tinuously since June 1963 until the time of this report.^*® 

The members of the Dallas-Fort Worth Russian community and 
others have variously described De Mohrenschildt as eccentric, out- 
spoken, and a strong believer in individual liberties and in the U.S. 
form of government, but also of the belief that some form of undemo- 
cratic government might be best for other peoples.^*^ De Moliren- 
schildt frankly admits his provocative personality .^^^ 

Jeanne De Mohrenschildt was born in Harbin, China, of White 
Russian parents. She left during the war with Japan, coming to 
New York in 1938 where she became a successful ladies dress and 
sportswear apparel designer. She married her present husband in 

The Commission's investigation has developed no signs of sub- 
versive or disloyal conduct on the part of either of the De Mohren- 
schildts. Neither the FBI, CIA, nor any witness contacted by the 


Commission has provided any information linking the De Mohren- 
schildts to subversive or extremist organizations.^^^ Nor has there 
been any evidence linking them in any way with the assassination of 
President Kennedy. 

The Commission has also considered closely the relations between 
the Oswalds and Michael and Ruth Paine of Irving, Tex. The 
Paines were not part of the Russian community which has been dis- 
cussed above. Ruth Paine speaks Russian, however, and for this 
reason was invited to a party in February of 1963 at which she became 
acquainted with the Oswalds.^^^ The host had met the Oswalds 
through the De Mohrenschildts.^^^ Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine 
subsequently became quite friendly, and Mrs. Paine provided con- 
siderable assistance to the Oswalds.^^^ Marina Oswald and her child 
resided with Ruth Paine for a little over 2 weeks while Oswald sought 
a job in New Orleans in late April and early May 1963.^^* In May, 
she transported Marina Oswald to New Orleans, paying all of the 
traveling and other expenses.^^^ "Wliile the Oswalds were in New 
Orleans, the two women corresponded.^^^ Mrs. Paine came to New 
Orleans in late September and took Marina Oswald and her child 
to her home in Irving.^^^ 

Since Oswald left for Mexico City promptly after Mrs. Paine and 
his family departed New Orleans,^^^ the Commission has considered 
whether Ruth Paine's trip to New Orleans was undertaken to assist 
Oswald in this venture, but the evidence is clear that it was not. In 
her letters to Ruth Paine during the summer of 1963, Marina Oswald 
confided that she was having continuing difficulties with her husband, 
and Mrs. Paine urged Marina Oswald to live with her in Irving; the 
letters of the two women prior to Mrs. Paine's arrival in New Orleans 
on September 20, 1963, however, contain no mention that Oswald was 
planning a trip to Mexico City or elsewhere.^^^ In New Orleans, 
Mrs. Paine was told by Oswald that he planned to seek employment in 
Houston, or perhaps Philadelphia. Though Marina Oswald knew 
this to be false, she testified that she joined in this deception.^^*^ At no 
time during the entire weekend was Mexico City mentioned.^^^ Cor- 
roboration for this testimony is found in a letter Mrs. Paine wrote 
her mother shortly after she and Marina Oswald had returned to 
Irving on September 24, in which she stated that Marina Oswald 
was again living with her temporarily and that Oswald was job- 
hunting.^^2 AYlien Oswald arrived at the Paine home on October 4, 
he continued his deception by telling Mrs. Paine, in his wife's presence, 
that he had been unsuccessful in finding employment.^^^ At Oswald's 
request, Marina Oswald remained silent.^^* 

Marina Oswald lived with Ruth Paine through the birth of her 
second daughter on October 20, 1963, and until the assassination of 
President Kennedy .^^^ During this period, OsAvald obtained a room 
in Dallas and found employment in Dallas, but spent weekends with 
his family at the Paine home.^^^ On November 1 and 5, Ruth Paine 
was interviewed by agents of the FBI who were investigating Os- 
wald's activities since his return from the Soviet Union, as set forth 


in greater detail in chapter YIII. She did not then know Oswald's 
address in Dallas.^^^ She was not asked for, nor did she volunteer, 
Oswald's telephone number in Dallas, which she did know,^^^ She 
advised the Bureau agent to whom she spoke of Oswald's periodic 
weekend visits, and she informed him that Oswald was employed at 
the Texas School Book Depository Building.^^^ 

On November 10, Euth Paine discovered a draft of Oswald's let- 
ter written the day before to the Soviet Embassy in Washingion, in 
which he indicated that he had journeyed to Mexico City and con- 
ferred with a "comrade Kostine in the Embassy of the Soviet Union, 
Mexico City, Mexico." (This letter is discussed later in this 
chapter.) Mr. and Mrs. Paine testified that although they initially 
assumed the letter was a figment of Oswald's imagination, the letter 
gave Mrs. Paine considerable misgivings.^^^ She determined that if 
the FBI agents returned she would deliver to them the copy of a draft 
of the letter which, unknown to Oswald, she had made.^"^ However, 
the agents did not return before the assassination.^^^ On November 
19, Mrs. Paine learned that Oswald was living in his Dallas rooming- 
house under an assumed name.^^* She did not report this to the 
FBI because, as she testified, she "had no occasion to see them, and 
* * * did not think it important enough to call them after that until 
the 23d of November." 

The Commission has thoroughly investigated the background of 
both Paines. Mrs. Paine was born Ruth Hyde in New York City on 
September 3, 1932. Her parents moved to Columbus, Ohio, in the 
late 1930's.^'® They were divorced in 1961.^^'' Ruth Paine gradu- 
ated from Antioch College in 1955.^^^ While in high school she first 
became interested in Quaker activities; she and her brother became 
Quakers in 1951.^^^ In 1952, following completion of her sophomore 
year at Antioch College, she was a delegate to two Friends conferences 
in England.380 

At the time the Paines met in 1955, Mrs. Paine was active in the 
Avork of the Young Friends Committee of North America, which, with 
the cooperation of the Department of State, was making an effort to 
lessen the tensions betAveen Soviet Russia and the United States by 
means of the stimulation of contacts and exchange of cultures between 
citizens of the two nations through "pen-pal" correspondence and 
exchanges of young Russians and Americans.^^^ It was during 
this period that Mrs. Paine became interested in the Russian lan- 
guage.^^^ Mrs. Paine participated in a Russian- American student ex- 
change program sponsored by the Young Friends Committee of North 
America, and has participated in the "pen-pal" phase of the activities 
of the Young Friends Committee.^^^ She has corresponded until 
recently with a schoolteacher in Russia.^^* Although her active in- 
terest in the Friends' program for the lessening of East- West tensions 
ceased upon her marriage in December 1957, she has continued to hold 
to the tenets of the Quaker f aith.^^^ 

Michael Paine is the son of George Lyman Paine and Ruth Forbe^s 
Paine, now Ruth Forbes Young, wife of Arthur Young of Phila- 


delphia, Pa.^®^ His parents were divorced when he was 4 years of 
age. His father, George Lyman Paine, is an architect and resides in 
Calif ornia.^®^ Michael Paine testified that during his late grammar 
and early high school days his father participated actively in the 
Trotskyite faction of the Communist movement in the United States 
and that he attended some of those meetings.^^^ He stated that his 
father, with whom he has had little contact throughout most of his 
life, has not influenced his political thinking. He said that he has 
visited his father four or five times in California since 1959, but their 
discussions did not include the subject of communism.^^^ Since mov- 
ing to Irving, Tex., in 1959, he has been a research engineer for Bell 
Helicopter Co. in Fort Worth. Mr. Paine has security clearance for 
his work.^^^ He has been a long-time member of the American Civil 
Liberties Union.^^^ Though not in sympathy with rightist political 
aims, he has attended a few meetings of far-right organizations in 
Dallas for the purpose, he testified, of learning something about those 
organizations and because he "was interested in seeing more communi- 
cation between the right and the left." 

The Commission has conducted a thorough investigation of the 
Paines' finances and is satisfied that their income has been from legiti- 
mate and traceable sources, and that their expenditures were consistent 
with their income and for normal purposes. Although in the course of 
their relationship with the Oswalds, the Paines assumed expenses for 
such matters as food and transportation, with a value of approxi- 
mately $500, they made no direct payments to, and received no moneys 
or valuables from, the Oswalds.^^* 

Although prior to November 22, Mrs. Paine had information relating 
to Oswald's use of an alias in Dallas, his telephone number, and his 
correspondence with the Soviet Embassy, which she did not pass on to 
the FBI,^^^ her failure to have come forward with this information 
must be viewed within the context of the information available to 
her at that time. There is no evidence to contradict her testimony 
that she did not then know about Oswald's attack on General Walker, 
the presence of the rifle on the floor of her garage. Oswald's owner- 
ship of a pistol, or the photographs of Oswald displaying the fire- 
arms.^^^ She thus assumed that Oswald, though a difficult and disturb- 
ing personality, was not potentially violent, and that the FBI was 
cognizant of his past history and current activities.^^' 

Moreover, it is from Mrs. Paine herself that the Commission has 
learned that she possessed the information which she did have. INIrs. 
Paine was forthright with the agent of the FBI with whom she spoke 
in early November 1963, providing him with sufficient information to 
have located Oswald at his job if he had deemed it necessary to do 
so,^^^ and her failure to have taken immediate steps to notify the 
Bureau of the additional information does not under the circum- 
stances appear unusual. Throughout the Commission's investigation, 
Kuth Paine has been completely cooperative, voluntarily producing 
all correspondence, memoranda, and other written communications in 
her possession that had passed between her and Marina Oswald both 


before and after November 22, 1963.^^^ Tlie Commission has bad the 
benefit of Mrs. Paine's 1963 date book and calendar and her address 
book and telephone notation book, in both of which appear many en- 
tries relating to her activities with the Oswalds Other material of 
a purely personal nature was also voluntarily made available.*°^ The 
Commission has found nothing in the Paines' background, activities, 
or finances which suggests disloyalty to the United States,*^^ and it 
has concluded that Ruth and Michael Paine were not involved in any 
way with the assassination of President Kennedy. 

A fuller narrative of the social contacts between the Oswalds 
and the various persons of the Dallas-Fort Worth community is 
incorporated in chapter YII and appendix XIII, and the testimony 
of all members of the group who testified before the Commission is 
included in the printed record which accompanies the report. The 
evidence establishes that the Oswalds' contacts with these people were 
originated and maintained under normal and understandable cir- 
cumstances. The files maintained by the FBI contain no information 
indicating that any of the persons in the Dallas-Fort Worth com- 
munity with whom Oswald associated were affiliated with any Com- 
munist, Fascist, or other subversive organization.*^^ During the course 
of this investigation, the Commission has found nothing which sug- 
gests the involvement of any member of the Russian-speaking com- 
munity in Oswald's preparations to assassinate President Kennedy. 

Political Activities Upon Return to the United States 

Upon his return from the Soviet Union, Oswald had dealings with 
the Communist Party, U.S.A., the Socialist Workers Party, and the 
Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and he also had minor contacts with 
at least two other organizations with political interests. For the pur- 
pose of determining whether Oswald received any advice, encourage- 
ment, or assistance from these organizations in planning or executing 
the assassination of President Kennedy, the Commission has con- 
ducted a full investigation of the nature and extent of Oswald's rela- 
tions with them. The Commission has also conducted an investigation 
to determine whether certain persons and organizations expressing 
hostility to President Kennedy prior to the assassination had any con- 
nection with Lee Harvey Oswald or with the shooting of the President. 

Communist Party ^ U.S.A.; Socialist Workers Party. — In August of 
1962, Oswald subscribed to the Worker, a publication of the Commu- 
nist Party, U.S.A.*°* He also wrote the Communist Party to obtain 
pamphlets and other literature which, the evidence indicates, were 
sent to him as a matter of course.*^^ 

Oswald also attempted to initiate other dealings with the Commu- 
nist Party, U.S.A., but the organization was not especially responsive. 
From New Orleans, he informed the party of his activities in connec- 
tion with the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, discussed below, submit- 


ting membership cards in his fictitious chapter to several part}- 
officials.^^ In a letter from Arnold S. Johnson, director of the infor- 
mation and lecture bureau of the party, Oswald ^yas informed that al- 
though the Communist Party had no "organizational ties" with the 
committee, the party issued much literature which was "important 
for anybody who is concerned about developments in Cuba." In 
September 1963 Oswald inquired how he might contact the party 
when he relocated in the Baltimore-^Vashington area, as he said he 
planned to do in October, and Johnson suggested in a letter of Sep- 
tember 19 that he "get in touch with us here [Xew York] and we will 
find some way of getting in touch with you in that city [Balti- 
more]." However, Oswald had also written asking whether, "hand- 
icapped as it were, by * * * [his] past record," he could "still * * * 
compete with antiprogressive forces, above ground or whether in your 
opinion * * * [he] should always remain in the background, i.e., 
underground," and in the September 19 letter received the reply that 
"often it is advisable for some people to remain in the background, 
not underground." 

In a letter postmarked November 1, Oswald informed the party that 
he had moved to Dallas, and reported his attendance at a meeting at 
which General ^Valker had spoken, and at a meeting of the American 
Civil Liberties Union: he asked Johnson for the party's "general 
view" of the latter organization and "to what degree, if any, [he] 
should attempt to highten its progressive tendencies." According to 
Johnson, this letter was not received by the Communist Party until 
after the assassination.*^" At different times, Oswald also wrote the 
Worker and the Hall-Davis Defense Committee, enclosing samples of 
his photographic work and offering to assist in preparing posters: he 
was told that "his kind offer [was] most welcomed and from time to 
time we shall call on you," but he was never asked for assistance.*^^ 
The correspondence between Oswald and the Communist Party, and 
with all other organizations, is printed in the record accompanying 
this report. 

When Oswald applied for a visa to enter Cuba during his trip to 
IVIexico City, discussed below,*^^ Senora Silvia Duran, the Cuban 
consular employee who dealt with Oswald, wrote on the application 
that Oswald said he was a member of the Communist Party and 
that he had "displayed documents in proof of his membership." 
When Oswald went to Mexico, he is believed to have carried 
his letters from .the Soviet Embassy in Washington and from 
the Communist Party in the United States, his 1959 passport, 
which contained stamps showing that he had lived m Russia for 2% 
years, his Russian work permit, his Russian marriage certificate, mem- 
bership cards and newspaper clippings purporting to show his role 
in the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, and a prepared statement of 
his qualifications as a "Marxist." Because of the mass of papers 
Oswald did present showing his affinity for communism, some m the 
Russian language, which was foreign to Senora Duran, and because 
further investigation, discussed below, indicated that Oswald was not 


a member of the party, Senora Duran's notation was probably 

Upon his arrest after the assassination, Oswald attempted to 
contact John J. Abt, a N'ew York attorney, to request Abt to repre- 
sent him. Abt was not in New York at the time, and he was 
never reached in connection with representing Oswald. Abt has 
testified that he at no time had any dealings with Oswald and that 
prior to the assassination he had never heard of Lfee Harvey Oswald.*^^ 

After his return from the Soviet Union, Oswald a"! so carried on a 
limited correspondence with the Socialist Workers Party. In Oc- 
tober of 1962 he attempted to join the party, but his application 
was not accepted since there was then no chapter in the Dallas area.*^^ 
Oswald also wrote the Socialist Workers Party offering his assistance 
in preparing posters. From this organization too he received the 
response that he might be called upon if needed. He was asked for 
further information about his photographic skills, which he does not 
appear to have ever provided.*^^ Oswald did obtain literature from 
the Socialist Workers Party, however, and in December 1962 he en- 
tered a subscription to the affiliated publication, the Militant.*^^ Ap- 
parently in March of 1963 Oswald wrote the party of his activities and 
submitted a clipping with his letter. In response, he was told that 
his name was being sent to the Yomig Socialist Alliance for further 
correspondence, but the files of the alliance apparently contain no 
reference to Oswald. Neither the letter nor the clipping which Oswald 
sent has been located.*^^ 

Investigation by the Commission has produced no plausible evidence 
that Lee Harvey Oswald had any other significant contacts with the 
Communist Party, U.S.A., the Socialist Workers Party, or with any 
other extreme leftist political organization. The FBI and other 
Federal security agencies have made a study of their records and 
files and contacted numerous confidential informants of the 
agencies and have produced no such evidence.*^^ The Commission 
has questioned persons who, as a group, knew Oswald during virtually 
every phase of his adult life, and from none of these came any indica- 
tion that Oswald maintained a surreptitious relationship with any 
organization. Arnold S. Johnson, of the American Communist Party ; 
James T. Tormey, executive secretary of the Hall-Davis Defense 
Committee; and Farrell Dobbs, secretary of the Socialist Workers 
Party, voluntarily appeared before the Commission and testified under 
oath that Oswald was not a member of these organizations and that a 
thorough search of their files had disclosed no records relating to 
Oswald other than those which they produced for the Commission.*^^ 
The material that has been disclosed is in all cases consistent with 
other data in the possession of the Commission. 

Socialist Labor Party. — Oswald also wrote to the Socialist Labor 
Party in New York in November 1962 requesting literature. Horace 
Twiford, a national committeeman at large for the party in the State 
of Texas, was informed by the New York headquarters in July 1963 


of Oswald's request, and on September 11, 1963, he did mail literature 
to Oswald at his old post office box in Dallas.^^^ On his way to Mexico 
City in September 1963, Oswald attempted to contact Twiford at his 
home in Houston ; Oswald spoke briefly with Twif ord's wife, identify- 
ing himself as a member of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, but 
since Twiford was out of town at the time, Oswald was unable to speak 
with him.^2^ Arnold Peterson, national secretary and treasurer of the 
Socialist Labor Party, has stated that a search of the records of the 
national headquarters reveals no record pertaining to Oswald ; he ex- 
plained that letters requesting literature are routinely destroyed.^24 
The Socialist Party-Social Democratic Federation has also advised 
that a review of its records fails to reflect any information or cor- 
respondence pertaining to Oswald.^^^ 

Fair Play for Cuba Committee. — During the period Oswald was 
in New Orleans, from the end of April to late September 1963, he was 
engaged in activity purportedly on behalf of the now defunct Fair 
Play for Cuba Committee (FPCC), an organization centered in New 
York which was highly critical of U.S. policy toward the Cuban 
Government under Fidel Castro. In May 1963, after having obtained 
literature from the FPCC,*^^ Oswald applied for and was granted 
membership in the organization.*^^ ^Ylien applying for membership, 
Oswald wrote national headquarters that he had 

* * * been thinking about renting a small office at my own ex- 
pense for the purpose of forming a F.P.C.C. branch here in New 
Could you give me a charter ? 

With his membership card, Oswald apparently received a copy of the 
constitution and bylaws for FPCC chapters, and a letter, dated May 
29, which read in part as follows (with spelling as in original) : 

It would be hard to concieve of a chapter with as few 
members as seem to exist in the New Orleans area. I have just 
gone throu2:h our files and find that Louisiana seams somewhat 
restricted for Fair Play activities. However, with what is there 
perhaps you could build a larger group if a few people would 
undertake the disciplined responsibility of concrete organizational 

We certainly are not at all adverse to a very small Chapter but 
certainly would expect that there would be at least twice the 
amount needed to conduct a legal executive board for the Chap- 
ter. Should this be reasonable we could readily issue a charter 
for a New Orleans Chapter of FPCC. In fact, we would be 
very, very pleased to see this take place and would like to do 
everything possible to assist in bringing it about. 

^ ^ ^ ^ ^ ^ 


You must realize that you will come under tremendous pres- 
sures with any attempt to do FPCC work in that area and that 
you will not be able to operate in the manner which is conven- 
tional here in the north-east. Even most ,of our big city Chap- 
ters have been forced to Abandon the idea of operating an office 
in public. * * * Most Chapters have discovered that it is easier 
to operate semi-privately out of a home and maintain a P.O. 
Box for all mailings and public notices. (A P.O. B,ox is a must 
for any Chapter in the organization to guamatee th^ con- 
tinued contact with the national even if an individual should 
move or drop out.) We do have a serious and often violent opposi- 
tion and this proceedure helps prevent many unnecessary incidents 
which frighten away prospective supporters. I definitely would 
not recommend an office, at least not one that will be easily iden- 
tify able to the lunatic fringe in your community. Certainly, 
I would not recommend that you engage in one at the very begin- 
ning but wait and see how you can operate in the community 
through several public experiences.*^^ 

Thereafter Oswald informed national headquarters that he had opened 
post office box No. 30061, and that against its advice he had decided "to 
take an office from the very beginning"; he also submitted copies 
of a membership application form and a circular headed "Hands Off 
Cuba !" which he had had printed, and informed the headquarters 
that he intended to have membership cards for his chapter printed, 
which he subsequently did.*^° He wrote three further letters to the 
New York office to inform it of his continued activities.*^^ In one he 
reported that he had been evicted from the office he claimed to have 
opened, so that he "worked out of a post office box and by useing street 
demonstrations and some circular work * * * sustained a great deal of 
interest but no new members." 

Oswald did distribute the handbills he had printed on at least three 
occasions.*^^ Once, while doing so, he was arrested and fined for 
being involved in a disturbance with anti- Castro Cuban refugees,*^* 
one of whom he had previously met by presenting himself as hostile to 
Premier Castro in an apparent effort to gain information about anti- 
Castro organizations operating in New Orleans.*^^ When arrested, he 
informed the police that his chapter had 35 members.*^^ His activities 
received some attention in the New Orleans press, and he twice ap- 
peared on a local radio program representing himself as a spokesman 
for the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.*^^ After his return to Dallas, 
he listed the FPCC as an organization authorized to receive mail at 
his post office box.*^^ 

Despite these activities, the FPCC chapter which Oswald pur- 
portedly formed in New Orleans was entirely fictitious. Vincent T. 
Lee, formerly national director of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee, 
has testified that the New York office did not authorize the creation 
of a New Orleans chapter, nor did it provide Oswald with funds 
to support his activities there.*^^ The national office did not write 


Oswald a^ain after its letter of May 29. As discussed more fully in 
chapter VII, Oswald's later letters to the national office purporting to 
inform it of his progress in New Orleans contained numerous exagger- 
ations about the scope of his activities and the public reaction to 
them.**° There is no evidence that Oswald ever opened an office as he 
claimed to have done. Although a pamphlet taken from him at the 
time of his arrest in New Orleans contains the rubber stamp imprint 
"FPCC, 544 CA:MP ST., NEW ORLEANS, LA.," investigation has 
indicated that neither the Fair Play for Cuba Committee nor Lee Har- 
vey Oswald ever maintained an office at that adclress.^^^ The handbills 
and other materials bearing the name of the Fair Play for Cuba Com- 
mittee were printed commercially by Oswald without the approval of 
the national headquarters.^^" Oswald's membership card in the "New 
Orleans chapter" of the committee carried the signature of "A. J. 
Hidell," purportedly the president of the chapter, but there is no 
evidence that an "A. J. Hidell" existed and, as pointed out in chapter 
IV, there is conclusive evidence that the name was an alias which 
Oswald used on various occasions. Marina Oswald herself wrote the 
name "Hidell" on the membership card at her husband's insistence.^^^ 

No other member of the so-called New Orleans chapter of the com- 
mittee has ever been found. The only occasion on which anyone other 
than Oswald was obser^^ed taking part in these activities was on 
August 9, 1963, when Oswald and two young men passed out leaflets 
urging "Hands Off Cuba!" on the streets of New Orleans. One of 
the two men, who was 16 years old at the time, has testified that Oswald 
approached him at the Louisiana State Employment Commission and 
offered him $2 for about an hour's work. He accepted the offer but 
later, when he noticed that television cameras were being focused on 
him, he obtained his money and left. He testified that he had never 
seen Oswald before and never saw him again. The second individual 
has never been located; but according to the testimony of the youth 
who was found, he too seemed to be someone not previously connected 
with Oswald.^^^ Finally, the FBI has advised the Commission that its 
information on undercover Cuban activities in the New Orleans area 
reveals no knowledge of Oswald before the assassination.*^^ 

Right-wing groups hostile to President Kennedy. — The Com- 
mission also considered the possibility that there may have been 
a link between Oswald and certain groups which had bitterly de- 
nounced President Kennedy and his policies prior to the time of the 
President's trip to Dallas. As discussed in chapter II, two provoca- 
tive incidents took place concurrently with President Kennedy's visit 
and a third but a month prior thereto. The incidents were (1) the 
demonstration against the Honorable Adlai E. Stevenson, U.S. Am- 
bassador to the United Nations, in late October 1963, when he came 
to Dallas on United Nations Day; (2) the publication in the Dallas 
Morning News on November 22 of the full page, black-bordered paid 
advertisement entitled, "Welcome Mr. Kennedy"; and (3) the dis- 
tribution of a throwaway handbill entitled "Wanted for Treason'' 
throughout Dallas on November 20 and 21. Oswald was aware of 


the Stevenson incident ; there is no evidence that he became aware of 
either the "AYelcome Mr. Kennedy" advertisement or the "Wanted 
for Treason" handbill, though neither possibility can be precluded. 

The only evidence of interest on Oswald's part in rightist groups 
in Dallas was his alleged attendance at a rally at the Dallas Audi- 
torium the evening preceding Ambassador Stevenson's address on 
United Nations Day, October 24, 1963. On the evening of October 25, 
1963, at the invitation of Michael Paine, Oswald attended a monthly 
meeting of the Dallas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union 
in which he was later to seek membership. During the course of 
the discussion at this meeting, a speaker mentioned Maj. Gen. Edwin 
A. Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army) . Oswald arose in the midst of the 
meeting to remark that a "night or two nights before" he had attended 
a meeting at which General Walker had spoken in terms that led 
Oswald to assert that General Walker was both anti-Catholic and 
anti-Semitic.**^ General Walker testified that he had been the speaker 
at a rally the night before Ambassador Stevenson's appearance, but 
that he did not know and had never heard of Oswald prior to the 
announcement of his name on radio and television on the afternoon of 
November 22.*** Oswald confirmed his attendance at the U.S. Day 
rally in an undated letter he wrote to Arnold Johnson, director of the 
information and lecture bureau of the Communist Party, mailed 
November 1, 1963, in which he reported : 

On October 23rd, I had attended a ultra-right meeting headed 
by General Edwin a. Walker, who lives in Dallas. 

This meeting preceded by one day the attack on a. e. Stevenson 
at the United Nations Day meeting at which he spoke. 

As you can see, political friction between 'left' and 'right' is 
very great here.**^ 

In the light of Oswald's attack upon General Walker on the evening 
of April 10, 1963, discussed in chapter lY,*^^ as well as Oswald's known 
political views,*^^ his asserted attendance at the political rally at which 
General Walker spoke may have been induced by many possible 
motives. However, there is no evidence that Oswald attended any 
other rightist meetings or was associated with any politically con- 
servative organizations. 

Wliile the black-bordered "Welcome Mr. Kennedy" advertisement 
in the November 22 Dallas Morning News, which addressed a series 
of critical questions to the President, probably did not come to 
Oswald's attention, it was of interest to the Commission because of 
its appearance on the day of the assassination and because of an al- 
legation made before the Commission concerning the person whose 
name appeared as the chairman of the committee sponsoring the ad- 
vertisement. The black-bordered advertisement was purported to be 
sponsored by "The American Fact-Finding Committee," which was 
described as "An unaffiliated and nonpartisan group of citizens who 
wish truth." Bernard Weissman was listed as "Chairman" and a 




... A CITY ,0 diiqraced by » r.een* Ubwtl (m««r •H»mp* M>«» Us crtiuni Kav. jull .l«cM N«o mor» Co"wr».f'«i AiTnr«.n« 
... A CITY thdt Is ai. economic "boom town. ' no* brcjuw of F«Jer«l hjniWi. but ttrou^ti cOKMr.**^, oconom^ ond buiinoti 
... A CITY fhef --h! cor*i-,o •- • - - '<_• d«tpi*t eHor*j by you and your •dminj?+r»i 

... A CITY .h,t re,ec-rd n I960 dfrd w.TI do lO •9*^ m 1964— Mf* i 

MR. KENNEDY, despH-e contentions on the part of your administration, tfi© State Department, the Mayor 
of Dallas, the Dallas City Council, and members of your party, we free-thinking and America-thiniting citiiens of Dallas 
still have, through a Constitution largely ignored by you, the right to address our grievances, to question you, to dis- 
agree with you, and to criticize you. 

In asserting this constitutional right, we wish to ask you publicly the following questions — indeed, questions of paramount 
importance and interest to all free peoples everywhere — which we trust you will answer ... in public, without sophistry. 
These questions are: 

Uyiiy is Latin America turning either anti-American or Communistic, or both, despite increased U. S. foreign aid, State 

* Department policy, and your own Ivy-Tower pronouncements? 

UlUy do you say we have built a "wall of freedom" around Cuba when there is no freedom in Cuba today? Because 
' of your policy, thousands of Cubans have been imprisoned, are starving and being persecuted — with thousands 
already murdered and thousands more awaiting execution and, in addition, the entire population of almost 7,000,000 
Cubans are living in slavery. 

WHY ^^^^ approved the sale of wheat and com to our enemies when you know the Communist 

' soldiers "travel on their stomachs" just as ours do? Communist soldiers are daily wounding and or killing 
American .soldiers in SoUitH Viet Nam. 

lUUY did you host, salute and entertain Tito — Moscow's Trojan Horse — just a short time after our sworn 

* enemy, Khrushchev, embraced the Yugoslav dictator as a great hero and leader of Communism? 

UfUY have you urged greater aid, comfort, recognition, and understanding for Yugoslavia, Poland, Hungary, and 

* other Communist countries, while turning your back on the pleas of Hungarian, East German, Cuban and other 
anti-Communist freedom fighters? 

WHY ^'^ Cambodia kick the U.S. out of its country after we poured nearly 400 Million Dollars of aid into its ultra- 
**" ' leftist government? 

UfUy has Gus Hall, head of the U.S. Communist Party praised almost every one of your policies and announced that 
"** ' the party will endorse and support your re-election in 1964? 

WHY ''^""^'^ showing at U.S. military bases of the film "Operation Abolition" — the movie by the House 

' Committee on Un-American Activities exposing Communism in America? 

Uf||Y have you ordered or permitted your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on Communists, feilow- 
"»» ' travelers, and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your 
administration, and your leadership? 

yuyy are you in favor of the U.S. continuing to give economic aid to Argentina, in spite of that fact that Argentina has 
' just seized almost 400 Million Dollars of American private property? 

WHY Foreign Policy of the United States degenerated to the point that the C.I. A. is arranging coups and hav. 


ing staunch Anti-Communist Allies of the U.S. bloodily exterminated, 
have you scrapped the Monroe Doctrine in favor of the "Spirit of Moscow"? 

MR. KENNEDY, as citizens of these United States of America, we DEMAND answers to these questions, and we want 
them NOW. 


"An unttffiliafed and non- partisan group of citizens who wish frufh" 


P.O. Box 1792 -Dallas 21, Texas 

Commission Exhibit No. 1031 


post office box in Dallas was the only address. (See Commission 
Exhibit No. 1031, p. 294.) 

The Commission has conducted a full investigation into the genesis 
of this advertisement and the background of those responsible for it. 
Three of the four men chiefly responsible, Bernard W. Weissman, Wil- 
liam B. Burley III, and Larrie H. Schmidt, had served together in 
the U.S. Army in Munich, Germany, in 1962. During that time 
they had with others devised plans to develop two conservative or- 
ganizations, one political and the other business. The political 
entity was to be named Conservatism — USA, or CUSA, and the busi- 
ness entity was to be named American Business, or AMBUS. '\^niile 
in Munich, according to Weissman, they attempted to develop in their 
"own minds * * * ways to build up various businesses that would sup- 
port us and at the same time support our political activities." Ac- 
cording to a subsequent letter from Schmidt to Weissman, "Cusa was 
founded for patriotic reasons rather than for personal gain — even 
though, as a side effect. Ambus was to have brought great return, as 
any business endeavor should." To establish their organizations, 
Weissman testified that they : 

* * * had planned while in Munich that in order to accomplish 
our goals, to try to do it from scratch would be almost impossible, 
because it would be years before we could even get the funds 
to develop a powerful organization. So we had planned to 
infiltrate various rightwing organizations and by our own ef- 
forts become involved in the hierarchy of these various organiza- 
tions and eventually get ourselves elected or appointed to various 
higher offices in these organizations, and by doing this bring in 
some of our own people, and eventually take over the leadership 
of these organizations, and at that time having our people in 
these various organizations, we would then, you might say, call 
a conference and have them unite, and while no one knew of the 
existence of CUSA aside from us, we would then bring them all 
together, unite them, and arrange to have it called CUSA.^^ 

Schmidt was the first to leave the service; settling in Dallas in 
October 1962, he became a life insurance salesman and quickly engaged 
in numerous political activities in pursuit of the objectives devised in 
Munich.^ He became affiliated with several organizations and pre- 
pared various political writings.*^^ 

Upon their release from the military, Weissman and Burley did not 
immediately move to Dallas, though repeatedly urged to do so by 
Schmidt.^^ On October 1, 1963, Schmidt wrote Weissman: "Adlai 
Stevenson is scheduled here on the 24th on UN Day. Kennedy is 
scheduled in Dallas on Nov. 24th. There are to be protests. All the 
big things are happening noiv — if we don't get in right now we may 
as well forget it."^^^ The day of the Stevenson demonstration, 
Schmidt telephoned Weissman, again urging him to move to Dallas. 
Recalling that c^)nversation with Schmidt, Weissman testified: 


And he said, "If we are going to take advantage of the situa- 
tion * * * you better hurry down here and take advantage of the 
publicity, and at least become known among these various right- 
wingers, because this is the chance we have been looking for to 
infiltrate some of these organizations and become known," in other 
words, go along with the philosophy we had developed in 

Five days later he wrote to Weissman and Burley to report that as 
the "only organizer of the demonstration to have publicly identified 
himself," he had "become, overnight, a 'fearless spokesman' and 'leader' 
of the rightwing in Dallas. What I worked so hard for in one year — 
and nearly failed — finally came through one incident in one night!" 
He ended, "Politically, CUSA is set. It is now up to you to get 
Ambus going." 

Weissman and Burley accepted Schmidt's prompting and traveled 
to Dallas, arriving on November 4, 1963. Both obtained employ- 
ment as carpet salesmen. At Schmidt's solicitation they took steps to 
join the John Birch Society, and through Schmidt they met the fourth 
person involved in placing the November 22 advertisement, Joseph P. 
Grinnan, Dallas independent oil operator and a John Birch Society 
coordinator in the Dallas arca.*^^ 

Within a week to 10 days after Weissman and Burley had arrived in 
Dallas, the four men began to consider plans regarding President 
Kennedy's planned visit to Dallas.^*^^ Weissman explained the reason 
for which it was decided that the ad should be placed : 

* * * after the Stevenson incident, it was felt that a demonstra- 
tion would be entirely out of order, because we didn't want any- 
thing to happen in the way of physical violence to President 
Kennedy when he came to Dallas. But we thought that the con- 
servatives in Dallas — I was told — were a pretty downtrodden lot 
after that, because they were being oppressed by the local liberals, 
because of the Stevenson incident. We felt we had to do some- 
thing to build up the morale of the conservative element, in 
Dallas. So we hit upon the idea of the ad.^^^ 

Weissman, Schmidt, and Grinnan worked on the text for the adver- 
tisement.*^® A pamphlet containing 50 questions critical of American 
policy was employed for this purpose, and was the source of the mili- 
tant questions contained in the ad attacking President Kennedy's 
administration.*®^ Grinnan undertook to raise the $1,465 needed to 
pay for the ad.*®^ He employed a typed draft of the advertisement 
to support his funds solicitation.*®^ Grinnan raised the needed money 
from three wealthy Dallas businessmen: Edgar E. Crissey, Nelson 
Bunker Hunt, and H. R. Bright, some of whom in turn collected 
contributions from others.*''^ At least one of the contributors would 
not make a contribution imless a question he suggested was inserted. 
Weissman, believing that Schmidt, Grinnan, and the contributors were 


active members of the John Birch Society, and that Grinnan even- 
tually took charge of the project, expressed the opinion that the ad- 
vertisement was the creation of the John Birch Society though 
Schmidt and Grinnan have maintained that they were acting "solely 
as individuals." 

A fictitious sponsoring organization was invented out of whole 
cloth.*''* The name chosen for the supposed organization was The 
American Fact-Finding Committee.*^^ This was "Solely a name," 
Weissman testified ; "* * * As a matter of fact, when I went to place 
the ad, I could not remember the name * * * I had to refer to a piec^ 
of paper for the name." Weissman's own name was used on the ad 
in part to counter charges of anti-Semitism which had been leveled 
against conservative groups in Dallas.*^^ Weissman conceived the 
idea ,of using a black border,*^^ and testified he intended it to serve the 
function of stimulating reader attention.*^^ Before accepting the 
advertisement, the Dallas Morning News apparently submitted it to 
its attorneys for their opinion as to whether its publication might 
subject them to liability .*^^ 

Weissman testified that the advertisement drew 50 or 60 mailed 
responses.*^^ He took them from the post office box early on Sunday 
morning, November 24.*^^ He said that those postmarked before the 
attack on President Kennedy were "favorable" in tone ; those of 
later postmark were violently unfavorable, nasty, and threatening ; 
and, according to a report from Schmidt, those postmarked some 
weeks later were again of favorable tone.*^^ 

The four promoters of the ad deny that they had any knowledge of 
or familiarity with Lee Harvey Oswald prior to November 22, or J ack 
Ruby prior to November 24.*^^ Each has provided a statement iof his 
role in connection with the placement of the November 22 advertise- 
ment and other matters, and investigation has revealed no deception. 
The Commission has found no evidence that any of these persons was 
comiected with Oswald or Ruby, or was linked to a conspiracy to 
assassinate President Kennedy. 

The advertisement, however, did give rise to one allegation con- 
cerning Bernard Weissman which required additional investigation. 
On March 4, 1964, Mark Lane, a New York attorney, testified before 
the Commission that an undisclosed informant had told him that 
Weissman had met with Jack Ruby and Patrolman J. D. Tippit at 
Ruby's Carousel Club on November 14, 1963. Lane declined to 
state the name of his informant but said that he would attempt to 
obtain his informant's permission to reveal his name.**^ On July 2, 
1964, after repeated requests by the Commission that he disclose the 
name of his informant. Lane testified a second time concerning this 
matter, but declined to reveal the information, stating as his reason 
that he had promised the individual that his name would not be re- 
vealed without his permission.^®^ Lane also made this allegation dur- 
ing a radio appearance, whereupon Weissman twice demanded that 
Lane reveal the name of the informant.*^^ As of the date of this 
report Lane has failed to reveal the name of his informant and has 


730-900 0-64— 21 

oflFered no evidence to support his allegation. The Commission has 
investigated the allegation of a Weissman-Ruby-Tippit meeting and 
has found no evidence that such a meeting took place anywhere at 
any time. The investigation into this matter is discussed in a later 
section of this chapter dealing with possible conspiracies involving 
Jack Ruby. 

A comparable incident was the appearance of the "Wanted for 
Treason" handbill on the streets of Dallas 1 to 2 days before President 
Kennedy's arrival. These handbills bore a reproduction of a front 
and profile photograph of the President and set forth a series of in- 
flammatory charges against him.^^° Efforts to locate the author and 
the lithography printer of the handbill at first met with evasive 
responses and refusals to furnish inf ormation.^^^ Robert A. Sur- 
rey was eventually identified as the author of the handbill.*^^ Surrey, 
a 38-year-old printing salesman employed by Johnson Printing Co. 
of Dallas, Tex., has been closely associated with General Walker 
for several years in his political and business activities.*®* He is presi- 
dent of American Eagle Publishing Co. of Dallas, in which he is a 
partner with General Walker.*®^ Its office and address is the post office 
box of Johnson Printing Co. Its assets consist of cash and various 
printed materials composed chiefly of General AValker's political and 
promotional literature,*®^ all of which is stored at General Walker's 

Surrey prepared the text for the handbill and apparently used 
Johnson Printing Co. facilities to set the type and print a proof.*®® 
Surrey induced Klause, a salesman employed by Lettercraft Printing 
Co. of Dallas,*®® whom Surrey had met when both were employed at 
Johnson Printing Co.,^°° to print the handbill "on the side." Ac- 
cording to Klause, Surrey contacted him initially approximately 2 or 
21/^ weeks prior to November 22.^°^ About a week prior to November 
22, Surrey delivered to Klause two slick paper magazine prints of 
photographs of a front view and profile of President Kennedy 
together with the textual page proof .^"^ Klause was unable to make 
the photographic negative of the prints needed to prepare the photo- 
graphic printing plate,^°^ so that he had this feature of the job done 
at a local shop.^*^^ Klause then arranged the halftone front and pro- 
file representations of President Kennedy at the top of the textual 
material he had received from Surrey so as to simulate a "man wanted" 
police placard. He then made a photographic printing plate of the 
picture.^^^ During the night, he and his wife surreptitiously prmted 
approximately 5,000 copies on Lettercraft Printing Co. offset printing 
equipment without the knowledge of his employers.^°® The next day 
he arranged with Surrey a meeting place, and delivered the hand- 
bills.^^® Klause's charge for the printing of the handbills was, in- 
cluding expenses, $60.^^° 

At the outset of the investigation Klause stated to Federal agents 
that he did not know the name of his customer, whom he incorrectly 
described ; he did say, however, that the customer did not resemble 
either Oswald or Ruby.^^^ Shortly before he appeared before the 


Commission, Klause disclosed Surrey's identity.^" He explained that 
no record of the transaction had been made because "he saw a chance 
to make a few dollars on the side." 

Klause's testimony receives some corroboration from Bernard Weiss- 
man's testimony that he saw a copy of one of the "Wanted for Treason" 
handbills on the floor of General Walker's station wagon shortly after 
November 22.^^^ Other details of the manner in which the handbills 
were prmted have also been verified.^^^ Moreover, Weissman testified 
that neither he nor any of his associates had anything to do with the 
handbill or were acquainted with Surrey, Klause, Lettercraft Print- 
ing Co., or Johnson Printing Co.^^^ Klause and Surrey, as well as 
General Walker, testified that they were unacquainted with Lee Har- 
vey Oswald and had not heard of him prior to the afternoon of Novem- 
ber 22.^^^ The Commission has found no evidence of any connection 
between those responsible for the handbill and Lee Harvey Oswald or 
the assassination. 

Contacts With the Cuban and Soviet Embassies in Mexico City and 
the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. 

Eight weeks before the assassination, Oswald traveled to Mexico 
City where he visited both the Cuban and Soviet Embassies.* Os- 
wald's wife knew of this trip before he went,^^^ but she denied 
such knowledge until she testified before the Commission.^^ The Com- 
mission undertook an intensive investigation to determine Oswald's 
purpose and activities on this journey, with specific reference to re- 
ports that Oswald was an agent of the Cuban or Soviet Governments. 
As a result of its investigation, the Commission believes that it has 
been able to reconstruct and explain most of Oswald's actions during 
this time. A detailed chronological account of this trip appears in 
appendix XIII. 

Trif to Mexico. — Oswald was in Mexico from September 26, 1963, 
until October 3, 1963.^21 (g^^ Commission Exhibits Nos. 2478, 2481, p. 
300.) Marina Oswald testified that Oswald had told her that the pur- 
pose of the trip was to evade the American prohibition on travel to 
Cuba and to reach that country .^^^ He cautioned her that the trip and 
its purpose were to be kept strictly secret.^^^ She testified that he had 
earlier laid plans to reach Cuba by hijacking an airliner flying out of 
New Orleans, but she refused to cooperate and urged him to give it up, 
which he finally did.^^* "VVitnesses who spoke with Oswald while he 
was on a bus going to Mexico City also testified that Oswald told 
them he intended to reach Cuba by way of Mexico, and that he hoped 
to meet Fidel Castro after he arrived.^^^ When Oswald spoke to 
the Cuban and Soviet consular officials in Mexico City, he repre-' 
sented that he intended to travel to the Soviet Union and requested 

*The Soviet Embassy in Mexico City includes consular as well as diplomatic personnel 
in a single building. The Cuban Embassy and Cuban Consulate in Mexico City, though in 
separate buildings, are in the same compound. Both the Soviet and the Cuban establish- 
ments will be referred to throughout the report simply as Embassies. 



ficAi eoi(»i.*ti 




OR.GINAL NO 24085 
YALTPA P«?R 15 Pj^^ 


Apellido. y n-pbr. LE£, HAiW?I OSWALD 


S«« 2,^1 E<ted 23 AiNOS Ex»odo C.r.1 ^ ^ 

Documento eon •! qw« txracfito w noc or^iUrfod 




an "in-transit" Cuban visa to permit him to enter Cuba on Septem- 
ber 30 on the way to the Soviet Union. Marina Oswald has 
testified that these statements were deceptions designed to get him to 
Cuba.^^ Thus, although it is possible that Oswald intended to con- 
tinue on to Eussia from Cuba, the evidence makes it more likely that 
he intended to remain in Cuba.^^^ 

Oswald departed from New Orleans probably about noon on Sep- 
tember 25 and arrived in Mexico City at about 10 a.m. on Septem- 
ber 27.^2^ In Mexico City he embarked on a series of visits to the 
Soviet and Cuban Embassies, which occupied most of his time during 
the first 2 days of his visit. At the Cuban Embassy, he requested 
an "in-transit" visa to permit him to visit Cuba on his way to the 
Soviet Union.^^ Oswald was informed that he could not obtain 
a visa for entry into Cuba unless he first obtained a visa to enter 
the U.S.S.E.,^^° and the Soviet Embassy told him that he could not 
expect an answer on his application for a visa for the Soviet Union 
for about 4 months.^^^ Oswald carried with him newspaper clippings, 
letters and various documents, some of them forged or containing 
false information, purporting to show that he was a "friend" of 
Cuba.^^^ With these papers and his record of previous residence in 
the Soviet Union and marriage to a Soviet national, he tried to 
curry favor with both Embassies.^^^ Indeed, his wife testified that 
in her opinion Oswald's primary purpose in having engaged in 
Fair Play for Cuba Committee activities was to create a public record 
that he was a "friend" of Cuba.^^* He m.ade himself especially unpop- 
ular at the Cuban Embassy by persisting in his demands that as a 
sympathizer in Cuban objectives he ought to be given a visa. This 
resulted in a sharp argument with the consul, Eusebio Azque.^^^ 

By Saturday, September 28, 1963, Oswald had failed to obtain visas 
at both Embassies.^2^ From Sunday, September 29, through Wednes- 
day morning, October 2, when he left Mexico City on a bus bound for 
the United States, Oswald spent considerable time making his travel 
arrangements, sightseeing and checking again with the Soviet Em- 
bassy to learn whether anything had happened on his visa applica- 
tion.^3^ Marina Oswald testified that when she first saw him after 
his return to the United States he was disappointed and discouraged 
at his failure to reach Cuba.^^ 

The general outlines of Oswald's activities in Mexico, particularly 
the nature and extent of his contacts at the Cuban Embassy, were 
learned very early in the investigation. An important source of in- 
formation relating to his business at the Cuban Embassy was Senora 
Silvia Tirado de Duran, a Mexican national employed in the visa sec- 
tion of the Cuban Embassy, who was questioned intensively by Mexican 
authorities soon after the assassination.^^^ An excerpt from the report 
of the Mexican Government summarized the crucial portion of Senora 
Duran's recollection of Oswald. In translation it reads as follows : 

* * * she remembered * * * [that Lee Harvey Oswald] was the 
name of an American who had come to the Cuban Consulate to 


obtain a visa to travel to Cuba in transit to Russia, the latter part 
of September or the early part of October of this year, and in 
support of his application had shown his passport, in -svhich it was 
noted that he had lived in that country for a period of three years ; 
his labor card from the same country written in the Russian lan- 
guage ; and letters in that same language. He had presented evi- 
dence that he was married to a Russian woman, and also that he 
was apparently the leader of an organization in the city of New 
Orleans called "Fair * * * [Play] for Cuba," claiming that he 
should be accepted as a "friend" of the Cuban Revolution. Ac- 
cordingly, the declarant, complying with her duties, took down 
all of the information and completed the appropriate application 
form; and the declarant, admittedly exceeding her responsibili- 
ties, informally telephoned the Russian consulate, with the in- 
tention of doing what she could to facilitate issuance of the Rus- 
sian visa to Lee Harvey Oswald. However, they told her that 
there would be a delay of about four months in processing the case, 
which annoyed the applicant since, according to his statement, 
he was in a great hurry to obtain visas that would enable him to 
travel to Russia, insisting on his right to do so in view of his back- 
ground and his loyalty and his activities in behalf of the Cuban 
movement. The declarant was unable to recall accurately 
whether or not the applicant told her he was a member of the 
Communist Party, but he did say that his wife * * * was then 
in New York City, and would follow him, * * * [Senora Duran 
stated] that when Oswald understood that it was not possible to 
give him a Cuban visa without his first having obtained the Rus- 
sian visa, * * * he became very excited or angry, and accord- 
ingly, the affiant called Consul Ascue [sic], * * * [who] came out 
and began a heated discussion in English with Oswald, that con- 
cluded by Ascue telling him that "if it were up to him, he would 
not give him the visa," and "a person of his type was harming 
the Cuban Revolution rather than helping it," it being under- 
stood that in their conversation they were talking about the Rus- 
sian Socialist Revolution and not the Cuban. Oswald main- 
tained that he had two reasons for requesting that his visa be 
issued promptly, and they were: one, that his tourist permit in 
Mexico was about to expire ; and the other, that he had to get to 
Russia as quickly as possible. Despite her annoyance, the de- 
clarant gave Oswald a paper * * * in which she put down her 
name, "Silvia Duran," and the number of the telephone at the 
consulate, which is "11-28-47" and the visa application was proc- 
essed anyway. It was sent to the Ministry of [Foreign] Rela- 
tions of Cuba,' from which a routine reply was received some 
fifteen to thirty days later, approving the visa, but on the con- 
dition that the Russian visa be obtained first, although she does 
not recall whether or not Oswald later telephoned her at the 
Consulate number that she gave him.^*° 







With the dates of Oswald's entry into and departure from Mexico, 
which had been obtained from the records of the Mexican Immigra- 
tion Service very shortly after the assassination, the Government of 
Mexico initiated a thorough investigation to uncover as much infor- 
mation as possible on Oswald's trip.^^^ Representatives of U.S. agen- 
cies worked in close liaison with the Mexican law enforcement 
authorities. The result of this investigative effort was to corroborate 
the statements of Senora Duran and to verify the essentials of Oswald's 
activities in Mexico as outlined above. 

Senora Duran is a well-educated native of Mexico, who was 26 
years old at the time of her interrogation. She is married to Senor 
Horacio Duran Navarro, a 40-year-old industrial designer, and has 
a young child. Although Senora Duran denies being a member of the 
Communist Party or other^vise comiected with it, both Durans have 
been active in far left political affairs in Mexico, believe in Marxist 
ideology, and sympathize with the government of Fidel Castro,^*^ 
and Senor Duran has written articles for El Dia, a pro-Communist 
newspaper in Mexico City.^^ The Commission has reliable evi- 
dence from a confidential source that Senora Duran as well as 
other personnel at the Cuban Embassy were genuinely upset upon 
receiving news of President Kennedy's death. Senora Duran's 
statements were made to Mexican officials soon after the assassina- 
tion,^** and no significant inaccuracies in them have been detected. 
Documents fitting the description given by Senora Duran of the 
documents Oswald had shown her, plus a notation which she said 
she had given him, were found among his possessions after his 

The Cuban Government was asked to document and confirm the 
essentials of Senora Duran's testimony. Its response, which has been 
included in its entirety in this Report, included a summary statement 
of Oswald's activities at the Cuban Embassy ,^*^ a photograph of the 
application for a visa he completed there,^*^ and a photograph of the 
communication from Havana rejecting the application unless he could 
first present a Soviet visa.^*® (See Commission Exhibit No. 2564, 
p. 306.) The information on these documents concerning Oswald's 
date of birth, American passport number and activities and statements 
at the Embassy is consistent with other information available to the 
Commission.^*^ CIA experts have given their opinion that the hand- 
writing on the visa application which purports to be Oswald's is in 
fact his and that, although the handwritten notations on the bottom 
of the document are too brief and faint to permit a conclusive deter- 
mination, they are probably Senora Duran's.^*^ The clothes wliich 
Oswald was wearing in the photograph which appears on the applica- 
tion appear to be the same as some of those found among his effects 
after the assassination, and the photograph itself appears to be from 
the same negative as a photograph found among his effects. Nothing 
on any of the documents raises a suspicion that they might not be 


By far the most important confirmation of Senora Duran's testi- 
mony, however, has been supplied by confidential sources of extremely 
high reliability available to the United States in Mexico. The infor- 
mation from these sources establishes that her testimony was truthful 
and accurate in all material respects. The identities of these sources 
cannot be disclosed without destroying their future usefulness to the 
United States. 

The investigation of the Commission has produced considerable 
testimonial and documentary evidence establishing the precise time 
of Oswald's journey, his means of transportation, the hotel at which 
he stayed in Mexico City, and a restaurant at which he often ate. 
All known persons whom Oswald may have met while in Mexico, in- 
cluding passengers on the buses he rode,^^^ and the employees and 
guests of the hotel where he stayed,^^^ were interviewed. No credible 
witness has been located who saw Oswald with any unidentified person 
while in Mexico City ; to the contrary, he was observed traveling alone 
to and from Mexico City,^^ at his hotel,^^^ and at the nearby restaurant 
where he frequently ate.^^^ A hotel guest stated that on one occasion 
he sat down at a table with Oswald at the restaurant because no empty 
table was available, but that neither spoke to the other because of the 
language barrier.^" Two Australian girls who saw Oswald on the 
bus to Mexico City relate that he occupied a seat next to a man who 
has been identified as Albert Osborne, an elderly itinerant preacher.^^* 
Osborne denies that Oswald was beside him on the bus.^^^ To the 
other passengers on the bus it appeared that Osborne and Oswald had 
not previously met,^^° and extensive investigation of Osborne has 
revealed no further contact between him and Oswald. Osborne's 
responses to Federal investigators on matters unrelated to Oswald 
have proved inconsistent and unreliable, and, therefore, based on the 
contrary evidence and Osborne's lack of reliability, the Com- 
mission has attached no credence to his denial that Oswald was beside 
him on the bus. Investigation of his background and activities, how- 
ever, disclose no basis for suspecting him of any involvement in the 

Investigation of the hotel at which Oswald stayed has failed to 
uncover any evidence that the hotel is unusual in any way that could re- 
late to Oswald's visit. It is not especially popular among Cubans, and 
there is no indication that it is used as a meeting place for extremist 
or revolutionary organizations.^®^ Investigation of other guests of 
the hotel who were there when Oswald was has failed to uncover any- 
thing creating suspicion. Oswald's notebook which he carried with 
him to Mexico City contained the telephone number of the Cuban Air- 
lines Office in Mexico City ; however, a Cuban visa is required by 
Mexican authorities before an individual may enplane for Cuba,^®^ and 
a confidential check of the Cuban Airlines Office uncovered no evidence 
that Oswald visited their offices while in the city.^^® 

Allegations of conspiracy. — Literally dozens of allegations of a con- 
spiratorial contact between Oswald and agents of the Cuban Govern- 
ment have been investigated by the Commission. Among the claims 
made were allegations that Oswald had made a previous trip to 


i^fe Bus terminal of Flecha Roia bus line, 4 ^ 

Hotel del Comercio, Colle 
Bernardino Sahagun No. 19. 

Mexico City terminal of the Transportes 
Frontera bus line, Calle Buenavista No. 7. 

Offices of the Chihuahuense Travel 
Agency, Paseo de la Reformo 52-5. 

ixico City terminal of Transportes del Norte 
line, Avenida Insurgentes Sur No. 137. 

T"^ His V'f^l 5« 

aio Mexico bullfight arena, "Ciudad Deportes 

l^mm'^^^. 1 mi 

^ / "-'rfl /I ^ iroAce 


O « 1 , _ 2 



I I I I L 

' ' ' ' L 


Commission Exhibit No. 1400 



Mexico City in early September to receive money and orders for the 
assassination/^^ that he had been flown to a secret airfield somewhere in 
or near the Yucatan Peninsula, that he might have made contacts in 
Mexico City with a Communist from the United States shortlj^ 
before the assassination,®^^ and that Oswald assassinated the Presi- 
dent at the direction of a particular Cuban agent who met with him in 
the United States and paid him $7,000.®"^^ A letter was received from 
someone in Cuba alleging the writer had attended a meeting where 
the assassination had been discussed as part of a plan which would 
soon include the death of other non- Communist leaders in the Ameri- 
cas.®^^ The charge was made in a Cuban expatriate publication that in 
a speech he delivered 5 days after the assassination, while he was under 
the influence of liquor, Fidel Castro made a slip of the tongue and said, 
"The first time Oswald was in Cuba," thereby giving away the 
fact that Oswald had made one or more surreptitious trips to that 

Some stories linked the assassination to anti- Castro groups who 
allegedly were engaged in obtaining illicit firearms in the United 
States, one such claim being that these groups killed the President as 
part of a bargain with some illicit organizations who would then 
supply them with firearms as payment.®"^^ Other rumors placed 
Oswald in Miami, Fla., at various times, allegedly in pro- Cuban ac- 
tivities there."* The assassination was claimed to have been carried 
out by Chinese Communists operating jointly with the Cubans.®^® 
Oswald was also alleged to have met with the Cuban Ambassador in 
a Mexico City restaurant and to have driven off in the Ambassador's 
car for a private talk.®"^^ Castro himself, it was alleged, 2 days after 
the assassination called for the files relating to Oswald's dealings with 
two members of the Cuban diplomatic mission in the Soviet Union ; 
the inference drawn was that the "dealings" had occurred and had 
established a secret subversive relationship which continued through 
Oswald's life.®^^ Without exception, the rumors and allegations of 
a conspiratorial contact were shown to be without any factual basis, 
in some cases the product of mistaken identification. 

Illustrative of the attention given to the most serious allegations 
is the case of "D," a young Latin American secret agent who ap- 
proached U.S. authorities in Mexico shortly after the assassination 
and declared that he saw Lee Harvey Oswald receiving $6,600 to kill 
the President. Among other details, "D" said that at about noon on 
September 18, waiting to conduct some business at the Cuban con- 
sulate, he saw a group of three persons conversing in a patio a few 
feet away. One was a tall, thin Negro with reddish hair, obviously 
dyed, who spoke rapidly in both Spanish and English, and another 
was a man he said was Lee Harvey Oswald. A tall Cuban joined the 
group momentarily and passed some currency to the Negro. The 
Negro then allegedly said to Oswald in English, "I want to kill the 
man." Oswald replied, "You're not man enough, I can do it." The 
Negro then said in Spanish, "I can't go with you, I have a lot to do." 
Oswald replied, "The people are waiting for me back there." The 


Negro then gave Oswald $6,500 in large-denomination American bills, 
saying, "This isn't much." After hearing this conversation, "D" said 
that he telephoned the American Embassy in Mexico City several 
times prior to the assassination in an attempt to report his belief that 
someone important in the United States was to be killed, but was 
finally told by someone at the Embassy to stop wasting his time. 

"D" and his allegations were immediately subjected to intensive 
investigation. His former employment as an agent for a Latin Ameri- 
can country was confirmed, although his superiors had no knowledge 
of his presence in Mexico or the assignment described by "D." Four 
days after "D" first appeared the U.S. Government was informed by 
the Mexican authorities that "D" had admitted in writing that his 
whole narrative about Oswald was false. He said that he had never 
seen Oswald anyplace, and that he had not seen anybody paid money 
in the Cuban Embassy. He also admitted that he never tried to tele- 
phone the American Embassy in September and that his first call to 
the Embassy was after the assassination. "D" said that his motive in 
fabricating the story was to help get himself admitted into the United 
States so that he could there participate in action against Fidel Castro. 
He said that he hated Castro and hoped that the story he made up 
would be believed and would cause the United States to "take action" 
against him. 

Still later, when questioned hy American authorities, "D" claimed 
that he had been pressured into retracting his statement by the Mex- 
ican police and that the retraction, rather than his first statement, 
was false. A portion of the American questioning was carried on 
with the use of a polygraph machine, with the consent of "D." When 
told that the machine indicated that he was probably lying, "D" said 
words to the effect that he "must be mistaken." Investigation in the 
meantime had disclosed that the Embassy extension number "D" said 
he had called would not have given him the person he said he spoke 
to, and that no one at the Embassy — clerks, secretaries, or officers — 
had any recollection of his calls. In addition, Oswald spoke little, if 
any, Spanish. That he could have carried on the alleged conversation 
with the red-headed Negro in the Cuban Embassy, part of which was 
supposed to have been in Spanish, was therefore doubtful. "D" now 
said that he was uncertain as to the date when he saw "someone who 
looked like Oswald" at the Cuban Embassy, and upon reconsideration, 
he now thought it was on a Tuesday, September 17, rather than Sep- 
tember 18. On September 17, however, Oswald visited the Louisiana 
State Unemployment Commission in New Orleans and also cashed a 
check from the Texas Employment Commission at the Winn-Dixie 
Store No. 1425 in New Orleans. On the basis of the retractions made 
by "D" when he heard the results of the polygraph examination, and 
on the basis of discrepancies which appeared in his story, it was 
concluded that "D" was lying.^^® 

The investigation of the Commission has thus produced no evidence 
that Oswald's trip to Mexico was in any way connected with the assas- 
sination of President Kennedy, nor has it uncovered evidence that the 


Cuban Government had any involvement in the assassination. To 
the contrary, the Commission has been advised by the CIA and FBI 
that secret and reliable sources corroborate the statements of Senora 
Duran in all material respects, and that the Cuban Government had 
no relationship with Lee Harvey Oswald other than that described by 
Senora Duran. Secretary of State Rusk also testified that 
after the assassination "there was very considerable concern in Cuba 
as to whether they would be held responsible and what the effect of 
that might be on their own position and their own safety." "® 

Contacts with the Soviet Embassy in the United States. — Soon after 
the Oswalds reached the United States in June 1962 they wrote to 
the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C. Oswald requested infor- 
mation about subscriptions to Russian newspapers and magazines and 
ultimately did subscribe to several Russian journals. Soviet law re- 
quired Marina Oswald, as a Soviet citizen living abroad, to remain in 
contact with her nation's Embassy and to file various papers occa- 
sionally.^^^ In 1963, after Oswald had experienced repeated employ- 
ment difficulties, there were further letters when the Oswalds sought 
permission to return to the Soviet Union. The first such request was a 
letter written by Marina Oswald on February 17, 1963. She wrote that 
she wished to return to Russia but that her husband would stay in the 
United States because "he is an American by nationality." She 
was informed on March 8, 1963, that it would take from 5 to 6 months 
to process the application. The Soviet Union made available to the 
Commission what purports to be the entire correspondence between 
the Oswalds and the Russian Embassy in the United States.^^^ This 
material has been checked for codes and none has been detected.^^^ 
With the possible exception of a letter which Oswald wrote to the 
Soviet Embassy after his return from Mexico City, discussed below, 
there is no material which gives any reason for suspicion. The im- 
plications of all of this correspondence for an understanding of Lee 
Harvey Oswald's personality and motivation is discussed in the 
following chapter. 

Oswald's last letter to the Soviet Embassy in Washington, D.C, 
dated November 9, 1963, began by stating that it was written "to 
inform you of recent events since my meetings with Comrade Kostin 
in the Embassy of the Soviet Union, Mexico City, Mexico." The 
envelope bears a postmark which appears to be Novembsr 12, 1963.^^® 
Ruth Paine has testified that Oswald spent the weekend at her home 
working on the letter and that she observed one preliminary draft. 
A piece of paper which was identified as one of these drafts was found 
among Oswald's effects after the assassination. (See Commission 
Exhibits Nos. 15, 103, p. 311.) According to Marina Oswald, her 
husband retyped the envelope 10 times.^^^ 

Information produced for the Commission by the CIA is to the 
effect that the person referred to in the letter as "comrade Kostin" was 
probably Valeriy Vladimirovich Kostikov, a member of the consular 
staff of the Soviet Union in Mexico City. He is also one of the KGB 
officers stationed at the Embassy.^^^ It is standard Soviet pro- 


cedure for KGB officers stationed in embassies and in consulates 
to carry on the normal duties of such a position in addition to the 
undercover activities.^^^ The Commission has identified the Cuban 
consul referred to in Oswald's letter as Senor Eusebio Azque (also 
"Ascue"), the man with whom Oswald argued at the Cuban Embassy, 
who was in fact replaced. The CIA advised the Commission : 

We surmise that the references in Oswald's 9 November letter 
to a man who had since been replaced must refer to Cuban Consul 
Eusebio Azque, who left Mexico for Cuba on permanent transfer 
on 18 November 1963, four days before the assassination. Azque 
had been in Mexico for 18 years and it was known as early as 
September 1963 that Azque was to be replaced. His replacement 
did arrive in September. Azque was scheduled to leave in Octo- 
ber but did not leave until 18 November. 

We do not know who might have told Oswald that Azque or 
any other Cuban had been or was to be replaced, but we speculate 
that Silvia Duran or some Soviet official might have mentioned 
it if Oswald complained about Azque's altercation with him.^^^ 

When asked to explain the letter, Marina Oswald was unable to add 
anything to an understanding of its contents.^^^ Some light on its 
possible meaning can be shed by comparing it with the early 
draft. When the differences between the draft and the final docu- 
ment are studied, and especially when crossed-out words are taken 
into account, it becomes apparent that Oswald Avas intentionally be- 
clouding the true state of affairs in order to make his trip to Mexico 
sound as mysterious and important as possible. 

For example, the first sentence in the second paragraph of the letter 
reads, "I was unable to remain in Mexico indefinily because of my 
mexican visa restrictions which was for 15 days only." The same sen- 
tence in the draft bep-ins, before the words are crossed out, "I was 
unable to remain in Mexico City because I considered useless * * *" 
As already mentioned, the Commission has good evidence that Os- 
wald's trip to Mexico was indeed "useless" and that he returned to 
Texas with that conviction. The first draft, therefore, spoke the 
truth ; but Oswald rew^rote the sentence to imply that he had to leave 
because his visa was about to expire. This is false ; OsAvald's tourist 
card still had a full week to run when he departed from Mexico on 
October 3.^^^ 

The next sentence in the letter reads, "I could not take a chance on 
reqesting a new visa unless I used my real name, so I returned to the 
United States." The fact is that he did use his real name for his 
tourist card, and in all dealings with the Cuban Embassy, the Russian 
Embassy and elsewhere. Oswald did use the name of "Lee" on the 
trip, but as indicated below, he did so only sporadically and probably 
as the result of a clerical error. In the opinion of the Commission, 
based upon its knowledge of Oswald, the letter constitutes no more 
than a clumsy effort to ingratiate himself with the Soviet Embassy. 



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Investigation of Other Activities 

Oswald^s use of post office hoxes and false names. — After his return 
from the Soviet Union, Lee Harvey Oswald is known to have received 
his mail at post office boxes and to have used different aliases on numer- 
ous occasions. Since either practice is susceptible of use for clandes- 
tine purposes, the Commission has directed attention to both for 
signs that Oswald at some point made undercover contact with other 
persons who might have been connected with the assassination. 

Oswald is known to have opened three post office boxes during 1962 
and 1963. On October 9, 1962, the ?ame day that he arrived in Dallas 
from Fort Worth, and before establishing a residence there, he opened 
box No. 2915 at the Dallas General Post Office. This box was closed 
on May 14, 1963, shortly after Oswald had moved to New Orleans.^^* 
That portion of the post office box application listing the names of 
those persons other than the applicant entitled to receive mail at the 
box was discarded in accordance with postal regulations after the box 
was closed; hence, it is not known what names other than Oswald's 
were listed on that form.^^^ However, as discussed in chapter IV, 
Oswald is known to have received the assassination rifle under the 
name of A. Hidell and his Smith & Wesson revolver under the name 
of A. J. Hidell at that box.^^^ On June 3, 1963, Oswald opened box 
No. 30061 at the Lafayette Square Substation in New Orleans. 
Marina Oswald and A. J. Hidell were listed as additional persons 
entitled to receive mail at this box.^^^ Immediately before leaving 
for Mexico City in late September, Oswald submitted a request to 
forward his mail to the Paines' address in Ir\dng, and the box was 
closed on September 26.^^^ On November 1, 1963, he opened box No. 
6225 at the Dallas Post Office Termmal Annex. The Fair Play for 
Cuba Committee and the American Civil Liberties Union were listed 
as also being entitled to receive mail at this box.^^^ 

Oswald's use of post office boxes is consistent with other information 
known about him. His frequent changes of address and receipt of 
Communist and other political literature would appear to have pro- 
vided Oswald reason to have rented postal boxes. These were the 
explanations for his use of the boxes which he provided Postal In- 
spector H. D. Holmes on November 24.^°° Moreover, on October 14, 
1963, he had moved into a room on Beckley Avenue under the name of 
O. H. Lee and it would have been extremely difficult for Oswald 
to have received his mail at that address without having disclosed his 
true name. The boxes cost Oswald only $1.50 or less per month.^^^ 

Although the possibilities of investigation in this area are limited, 
there is no evidence that any of the three boxes was ever used for the 
surreptitious receipt of messages or was used by persons other than 
Oswald or his family. No unexplainable notes were found among 
Oswald's possessions after his arrest. Oswald's box on the day 
of the assassination. No. 6225, was kept under constant personal sur- 
veillance by postal inspectors from about 5 p.m. November 22 until 
midnight November 24. A modified surveillance was maintained there- 


after. Xo one called for mail out of this box : indeed the only mail in 
the box was a Russian magazine addressed to Oswald. The single out- 
standing key was recovered from Oswald immediately after he was 
taken in custody.®^ 

In appraising the import of Oswald's rental of post office boxes, it is 
significant that he was not secretive about their use. All three boxes 
were rented by Oswald using his true name.^°- His application for 
box Xo. 2915 showed his home address as that of Alexandra De 
Mohrenschildt (Taylor) , whose husband had agreed to allow Oswald 
to use his address.^°^ His application for the Xew Orleans box 
listed his address as 657 French Street ; his aunt. Lillian Murret, lived 
at 757 French Street.^® On the application for box Xo. 6225, Oswald 
gave an incorrect street nunaber, though he did show Beckley Avenue, 
where he was then living.^^ He furnished the box numbers to his 
brother, to an employer, to Texas and Xew Orleans unemployment 
commissions, and to others. Based on all the facts disclosed by its 
investigation, the Conamission has attached no conspiratorial sig- 
nificance to Oswald's rental of post office boxes. 

Oswald's use of aliases is also well established. In chapter IV, the 
evidence relating to his repeated use of the name "A. J. Hidell,'' and 
close variants thereof, is set forth.^^^ Because Oswald's use of this 
pseudonym became known quickly after the assassination, investiga- 
tions were conducted with regard to persons using the name Hidell 
or names similar to it. Subversive files, public carrier records, tele- 
graph company records, banking and other commercial records, and 
other matters investigated and persons interviewed have been ex- 
amined with regard to Oswald's true name and his known alias.^^° Xo 
evidence has been produced that Oswald ever used the name Hidell 
as a means of making undercover contact with any person. Indeed, 
though Oswald did prepare a counterfeit selective service card and 
other identification using this name, he commonly used "Hidell"' to 
represent persons other than himself, such as the president of his 
nonexistent Fair Play for Cuba Committee chapter, the doctor whose 
name appeared on his counterfeit international certificate of vaccina- 
tion, and as references on his job applications.^^^ 

Alwyn Cole, questioned document expert for the Treasury Depart- 
ment, testified that the false identification found on Oswald upon his 
arrest could have been produced by employing elementary techniques 
used in a photographic printing plant. (gg^ ^pp. X, pp. 571-578.) 
Though to perform the necessary procedures would have been difficult 
without the use of expensive photographic equipment, such equipment 
and the needed film and photographic paper were available tO' Oswald 
when he was employed from October 1962 through early April 1963 
at Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall, a commercial advertising photography 
firm in Dallas. THiile so employed, Oswald is known to have be- 
come familiar with the mechanics of photographic enlargements, 
contraction, and image distortion that would have been necessary to 
produce his false identification, and to have used the facilities of his 
employer for some personal work.^^* Cole testified that the cards 


730-900 0-64— 22 

in Oswald's wallet did not exhibit a great deal of skill, pointing out 
various errors that had been committed.^^^ Oswald's supervisor at 
Jaggars-Chiles-Stovall has stated that Oswald seemed unable to per- 
form photographic work with precision, which was one of the main 
reasons for which he was ultimately discharged.^^^ The retouched 
negatives used to make Oswald's counterfeit certificate of service 
identification were found among Oswald's personal effects after his 
arrest, as was a rubber stamping kit apparently employed to produce 
his spurious international certificate of vaccination.^^^ There is strong 
evidence, therefore, that Oswald himself made the various pieces of 
counterfeit identification which he carried, and there is no reason to 
believe that he received assistance from any person in establishing his 

Oswald also used incorrect names other than Hidell, but these too 
appear unconnected with any form of conspiracy. Oswald's last 
name appears as "Lee" in three places in connection with his trip to 
Mexico City, discussed above. His tourist card was typed by the 
Mexican consulate in New Orleans, "Lee, Harvey Oswald." How- 
ever, the comma seems to have been a clerical error, since Oswald 
signed both the application and the card itself, "Lee H. Oswald." 
Moreover, Oswald seems originally to have also printed his name, 
evenly spaced, as "Lee H Oswald," but, noting that the form instructed 
him to "Print full name. No initials," printed the remainder of his 
middle name after the "H." The clerk who typed the card thus saw 
a space after "Lee," followed by "Harvey Oswald" crowded together, 
and probably assumed that "Lee" was the applicant's last name. (See 
Commission Exhibit 2481, p. 300.) The clerk who prepared Oswald's 
bus reservation for his return trip wrote "H. O. Lee." He stated that 
he did not remember the occasion, although he was sure from the 
handwriting and from other facts that he had dealt with Oswald. 
He surmised that he probably made out the reservation directly 
from the tourist card, since Oswald spoke no Spanish, and, seeing the 
comma, wrote the name "H. O. Lee." Oswald himself signed the 
register at the hotel in Mexico City as "Lee, Harvey Oswald," but 
since the error is identical to that on the tourist card and since he 
revealed the remainder of his name, "Harvey Oswald," it is possible 
that Oswald inserted the comma to conform to the tourist card, or 
that the earlier mistake suggested a new pseudonym to Oswald which 
he decided to continue. 

In any event, Oswald used his correct name in making reservations 
for the trip to Mexico City, in introducing himself to passengers 
on the bus, and in his dealings with the Cuban and Soviet Embassies.^^^ 
When registering at the Beckley Avenue house in mid-October, Oswald 
perpetuated the pseudonym by giving his name as "O. H. Lee," 
though he had given his correct name to the owner of the previous 
roominghouse where he had rented a room after his return from 
Mexico City.®23 Investigations of the Commission have been con- 
ducted with regard to persons using the name "Lee," and no evidence 


has been found that Oswald used this alias for the purpose of making 
any type of secret contacts. 

Oswald is also known to have used the surname "Osborne" in order- 
ing Fair Play for Cuba Committee handbills in May 1963.^^* He also 
used the false name D. F. Drittal as a certifying witness on the mail- 
order coupon with which he purchased his Smith & Wesson revolver.^^s 
He used the name Lt. J. Evans as a reference on an employment ap- 
plication in New Orleans.^^^ 

Oswald's repeated use of false names is probably not to be disasso- 
ciated from his antisocial and criminal inclinations. No doubt he 
purchased his weapons under the name of Hidell in attempt to prevent 
their ownership from being traced. Oswald's creation of false names 
and ficititious personalities is treated in the discussion of possible 
motives set forth in chapter VII. Whatever its significance in that 
respect may be, the Commission has found no indication that Oswald's 
use of aliases was linked with any conspiracy with others. 

Ownership of a second rife. — The Commission has investigated a 
report that, during the first 2 weeks pi November 1963, Oswald had 
a telescopic sight mounted and sighted on a rifle at a sporting goods 
store in Irving, Tex. The main evidence that Oswald had such work 
performed for him is an undated repair tag bearing the name "Os- 
wald" from the Irving Sports Shop in Irving, Tex. On November 25, 
1963, Dial D. Eyder, an employee of the Irving Sports Shop, presented 
this tag to agents of the FBI, claiming that the tag was in his hand- 
writing. The undated tag indicated that three holes had been drilled 
in an unspecified type of rifle and a telescopic sight had been mounted 
on the rifle and boresighted.^^^ 

As discussed in chapter IV, the telescopic sight on the C2766 Mann- 
licher-Carcano rifle was already mounted when shipped to Oswald, 
and both Ryder and his employer, Charles W. Greener, feel cer- 
tain that they never did any work on this rifle.^^^ If the repair tag 
actually represented a transaction involving Lee Harvey Oswald, 
therefore, it would mean that Oswald owned another rifle. Although 
this would not alter the evidence which establishes Oswald's owner- 
ship of the rifle used to assassinate President Kennedy, the possession 
of a second rifle warranted investigation because it would indicate that 
a possibly important part of Oswald's life had not been uncovered. 

Since all of Oswald's known transactions in connection with fire- 
arms after his return to the United States w^ere undertaken under an 
assumed name,^^^ it seems unlikely that if he did have repairs made at 
the sports shop he would have used his real name Investigation has 
revealed that the authenticity of the repair tag bearing Oswald's name 
is indeed subject to grave doubts. Eyder testified that he found the 
repair tag while cleaning his workbench on November 23, 1963.^^° 
However, Ryder spoke with Greener repeatedly during the period be- 
tween November 22-28 and, sometime prior to November 25, he dis- 
cussed with him the possibility that Oswald had been in the store. 
Neither he nor Greener could remember that he had been. But despite 
these conversations with Greener, it is significant that Ryder never 


called the repair tag to liis employers attention. Greener did not learn 
about the tag until November 28, when he was called by TV reporters 
after the story had appeared in the Dallas Times- Herald.*'^^ The pe- 
culiarity of Ryder's silence is compounded by the fact that, when speak- 
ing to the FBI on November 25, Eyder fixed the period during which 
the tag had been issued as November 1-14, 1963. yet, from his later testi- 
mony, it appears that he did so on the basis that it must have occurred 
when Greener was on vacation since Greener did not remember the 
transaction.^^2 Moreover, the FBI had baen directed to the Irving 
Sports Shop by anonymous telephone calls received by its Dallas office 
and by a local television station. The anonymous male who telephoned 
the Bureau attributed his information to an unidentified sack boy at a 
specified supermarket in Irving, but investigation has failed to verify 
this source.^^^ 

Neither Ryder nor Greener claimed that Lee Harvey Oswald 
had ever been a customer in the Irving Sports Shop. Neither has 
any recollection of either Oswald or his Mannlicher-Carcano rifle, 
nor does either recall the transaction allegedly represented by the 
repair tag or the person for whom the repair was supposedly made.^^^ 
Although Ryder stated to the FBI that he was ''quite sure" that he 
had seen Oswald and that Oswald may have been in the store at one 
time, when shown a photograph of Oswald during his deposition, 
Ryder testified he knew the picture to be of Oswald, "as the pictures 
in the paper, but as far as seeing the guy personally, I don't thmk I 
ever have." 

Subsequent events also reflect on Ryder's credibility. In his deposi- 
tion, Ryder emphatically denied that he talked to any reporters about 
this matter prior to the time a story about it appeared in the Novem- 
ber 28, 1963, edition of the Dallas Times-Herald.^^ Earlier, however, 
he told an agent of the U.S. Secret Service that the newspaper had 
misquoted him.^^" Moreover, a reporter for the Dallas Times-Herald 
has testified that on November 28, 1963, he called Ryder at his home 
and obtained from him all of the details of the alleged transaction, 
and his story is supported by the testimony of a second reporter who 
overheard one end of the telephone convei^ation.^^ No other person 
by the name of Oswald in the Dallas-Fort Worth area has been found 
who had a rifle repaired at the Irving Sports Shop.^^^ 

Possible corroboration for Ryder's story is provided by two women, 
Mrs. Edith AYhit worth, who operates the Furniture Mart, a furniture 
store located about I14 blocks from the Irving Sports Shop, and Mrs. 
Gertrude Hunter, a friend of Mrs. ^'\liit worth. They testified that 
m early November of 1963, a man who they later came to believe was 
Oswald drove up to the Furniture Mart m a two-tone blue and white 
1957 Ford automobile, entered the store and asked about a part for 
a gun, presumably l>ecause of a sign that appeared in the building ad- 
vertising a gunsmith shop that had formerly occupied part of the 
premises. ^"\lien he found that he could not obtain the part, the man 
allegedly returned to his car and then came back into the store with 
a woman and two young children to look at furniture, remaining in 
the store for about 30 to 40 mmutes.^^'^ 


Upon confronting Marina Oswald, both women identified her as the 
woman whom they had seen in the store on the occasion in question, 
although Mrs. Hunter could not identify a picture of Lee Harvey 
Oswald and Mrs. Whitworth identified some pictures of Oswald but 
not others. Mrs. Hunter purported to identify Marina Oswald by her 
eyes, and did not observe the fact that Marina Oswald had a front 
tooth missing at the time she supposedly saw her.^*^ After a thorough 
inspection of the Furniture Mart, Marina Oswald testified that she 
had never been on the premises bef ore.^*^ 

The circumstances surrounding the testimony of the two women 
are helpful in evaluating the weight to be given to their testimony, 
and the extent to which they lend support to Ryder's evidence. The 
women previously told newspaper reporters that the part for which 
the man was looking was a "plunger," which the Commission has 
been advised is a colloquial term used to describe a firing pin.^^^ 
This work was completely different from the work covered by Ryder's 
repair tag, and the firing pin of the assassination weapon does not ap- 
pear to have been recently replaced.^** At the time of their deposi- 
tions, neither woman was able to recall the type of work which the 
man wanted done.^*^ 

Mrs. Wliitworth related to the FBI that the man told her that the 
younger child with him was born on October 20, 1963, which was in 
fact Rachel Oswald's birthday.^*® In her testimony before the Com- 
mission, however, Mrs. Whitworth could not state that the man had 
told her the child's birthdate was October 20, 1963, and in fact ex- 
pressed uncertainty about the birthday of her own grandchild, which 
she had previously used as a guide to remembering the birthdate of 
the younger child in the shop.^^^ Mrs. Hunter thought that the man 
she and Mrs. Whitworth believed was Oswald drove the car to and 
from the store ; however, Lee Harvey Oswald apparently was not 
able to drive an automobile by himself and does not appear to have had 
access to a car.^*^ 

The two women claimed that Oswald was in the Furniture Mart on a 
weekday, and in midaftemoon. However, Oswald had reported to 
work at the Texas School Book Depository on the dates referred to by 
the women and there is no evidence that he left his job during business 
hours.^^^ In addition, Ruth Paine has stated that she always accom- 
panied Marina Oswald whenever Marina left the house with her chil- 
dren and that they never went to the Furniture Mart, either with or 
without Lee Harvey Oswald, at any time during October or November 
of 1963.^^^ There is nothing to indicate that in November the Oswalds 
were interested in buying furniture.®^^ 

Finally, investigation has produced reason to question the credi- 
bility of Mrs. Hunter as a witness. Mrs. Hunter stated that one 
of the reasons she remembers the description of the car in which Os- 
wald supposedly drove to the furniture store was that she was awaiting 
the arrival of a friend from Houston, who drove a similar automo- 
bile.^^^ However, the friend in Houston has advised that in Novem- 
ber 1963, she never visited or planned to visit Dallas, and that she 


told no one that she intended to make such a trip. Moreover the 
friend added, according to the FBI interview report, that Mrs. Hunter 
has "a strange obsession for attempting to inject herself into any big 
event which comes to her attention" and that she "is likely to claim 
some personal knowledge of any major crime which receives much pub- 
licity." She concluded that "the entire family is aware of these 
'tall tales' Mrs. Hunter tells and they normally pay no attention to 

Another allegation relating to the possible ownership of a second 
rifle by Oswald comes from Robert Adrian Taylor, a mechanic at a 
service station in Irving. Some 3 weeks after the assassination, Tay- 
lor reported to the FBI that he thought that, in March or April of 
1963, a man he believed to be Oswald had been a passenger in an auto- 
mobile that stopped at his station for repairs ; since neither the driver 
nor the passenger had sufficient funds for the repair work, the person 
believed to be Oswald sold a U.S. Army rifle to Mr. Taylor, using 
the proceeds to pay for the repairs.^^^ However, a second employee 
at the service station, who recalled the incident, believed that, despite 
a slight resemblance, the passenger was not Oswald.^^^ Upon reflec- 
tion, Taylor himself stated that he is very doubtful that the man was 

Rifle practice. — Several witnesses believed that in the weeks preced- 
ing the assassination, they observed a man resembling Oswald prac- 
ticing with a rifle in the fields and wooded areas surrounding Dallas, 
and at rifle ranges in that area. Some witnesses claimed Oswald was 
alone, while others said he was accompanied by one or more other 
persons. In most instances, investigation has disclosed that there 
is no substantial basis for believing that the person reported by the 
various witnesses was Oswald.^^ 

One group of witnesses, however, believed that they observed Lee 
Harvey Oswald at the Sports Drome Rifle Range in Dallas at vari- 
ous times from September through November of 1963. In light of 
the number of witnesses, the similarity of the descriptions of the 
man they saw, and the type of weapon they thought the individual was 
shooting, there is reason to believe that these witnesses did see the 
same person at the firing range, although the testimony of none of 
these witnesses is fully consistent with the reported observations of 
the other witnesses. 

The witnesses who claimed to have seen Oswald at the firing range 
had more than a passing notice of the person they observed. Malcolm 
H. Price, Jr., adjusted the scope on the individual's rifle on one 
occasion ; Garland G. Slack had an altercation with the individual 
on another occasion because he was shooting at Slack's target ; 
and Sterling C. Wood, who on a third date was present at the range 
with his father. Dr. Homer Wood, spoke with his father and very 
briefly with the man himself about the individual's rifle.^^^ All three 
of these persons, as well as Dr. Wood, expressed confidence that the 
man they saw was Oswald.^^^ Two other persons believed they saw 


a person resembling Oswald firing a similar rifle at another range 
near Irving 2 days before the assassination.^^* 

Although the testimony of these witnesses was partially corroborated 
by other witnesses,®^^ there was other evidence which prevented the 
Commission from reaching the conclusion that Lee Hai-vey Oswald was 
the person these witnesses saw. Others who were at the firing range 
remembered the same individual but, though noting a similarity to 
Oswald, did not believe that the man was Oswald ; others either 
were unable to state whether the man was Oswald or did not recall see- 
ing anybody who they feel may have been Oswald.^^^ Moreover, when 
interviewed on December 2, 1963, Slack recalled that the individual 
whom he saw had blond hair,^®^ and on December 3, 1963, Price 
stated that on several occasions when he saw the individual, he was 
wearing a "Bulldogger Texas style" hat and had bubble gum or chew- 
ing tobacco in his cheek.^^^ None of these characteristics match those 
known about Lee Harvey Oswald. 

Moreover, the date on which Price adjusted the scope for the 
unknown person was September 28, 1963, but Oswald is known to 
have been in Mexico City at that time ; since a comparison of the 
events testified to by Price and Slack strongly suggests that they were 
describing the same man,^^^ there is reason to believe that Slack was 
also describing a man other than Oswald. In addition. Slack believed 
he saw the same person at the rifle range on November 10 and there 
is persuasive evidence that on November 10, Oswald was at the Paine's 
home in Irving and did not leave to go to the rifle range.^^^ Finally, 
the man whom Price assisted on September 28 drove an old car, possibly 
a 1940 or 1941 Ford.^^* However, there is evidence that Oswald could 
not drive at that time, and there is no indication that Oswald ever had 
access to such a car.®^^ Neither Oswald's name nor any of his known 
aliases was found in the sign-in register maintained at the Sports 
Drome Rifle Range, though many customers did not sign this 
register.^^^ The allegations pertaining to the companions who re- 
portedly accompanied the man believed to be Oswald are also incon- 
sistent among themselves and conform to no other credible informa- 
tion ascertained by the Commission. Several witnesses noticed a 
bearded man at the club when the person believed to be Oswald was 
there, although only one witness thought the two men were together ; 
the bearded gentleman was located, and he was not found to have any 
connection with Oswald.^^^ 

It seems likely that the identification of Price, Slack, and the Woods 
was reinforced in their own minds by the belief that the man whom 
they saw was firing a rifle perhaps identical to Oswald's Mannlicher- 
Carcano. The witnesses agreed that the man they observed was firing 
a Mauser-type bolt-action rifle with the ammunition clip immediately 
in front of the trigger action, and that a scope was mounted on the 
rifle.^^^ These features are consistent with the rifle Oswald used for 
the assassination.^^^ The witnesses agreed that the man had accurate 
aim with the rifle.^®^ 


However, the evidence demonstrated that the weapon fired by the 
man they observed was different from the assassination rifle. The 
witnesses agreed that the barrel of the gun which the individual was 
firing had been shortened in the process of "sporterizing" the 
weapon.^^^ In addition, Price and Slack recalled that certain pieces 
were missing from the top of the weapon,^^^ and Dr. Wood and his 
son, and others, remembered that the weapon spouted flames when 
fired.^^^ None of these characteristics correspond with Oswald's 
Mannlicher-Carcano.^^^ Price and Slack believed that the gun did not 
have a sling, but the assassination weapon did have one. Sterling 
Wood, on the other hand, recalled that the rifle which he saw had a 
sling.^*^ Price also recalled that he examined the rifle briefly for some 
indication as to where it had been manufactured, but saw nothing, 
whereas the words "MADE ITALY" are marked on the top of 
Oswald's Mannlicher-Carcano.^*® 

The scope on the rifle observed at the firing range does not appear 
to be the same as the one on the assassination weapon. Price remem- 
bered that the individual told him that his scope was Japanese, that 
he had paid $18 for it, and that he had it mounted in a gunshop in 
Cedar Hills, though apparently no such shop exists in that area.^^^ 
The scope on the Mannlicher-Carcano was of Japanese origin but it was 
worth a little more than $7 and was already mounted when he re- 
ceived the rifle from a mail-order firm in Chicago.^^° Sterling Wood 
and Slack agreed that the scope had a somewhat different appearance 
from the scope on the assassination rifle.^®^ 

Though the person believed to be Oswald retained his shell casings, 
presumably for reuse,^^^ all casings recovered from areas where it is 
believed that Oswald may have practiced have been examined by the 
FBI Laboratory, and none has been found which was fired from 
Oswald's rifle.^^^ Finally, evidence discussed in chapter TV tends to 
prove that Oswald brought his rifle to Dallas from the home of the 
Paines in Irving on November 22, and there is no other evidence which 
indicates that he took the rifle or a package which might have con- 
tained the rifle out of the Paine's garage, where it was stored, prior 
to that date.^^* 

Automobile demonstration. — The testimony of Albert Guy Bogard 
has been carefully evaluated because it suggests the possibility that 
Oswald might have been a proficient automobile driver and, during 
November 1963, might have been expecting funds with which to pur- 
chase a car. Bogard, formerly an automobile salesman with a Lin- 
coln-Mercury firm in Dallas, testified that in the early afternoon of 
November 9, 1963, he attended a prospective customer who he believes 
was Lee Harvey Oswald. According to Bogard, the customer, after 
test driving an automobile over the Stemmons Freeway at 60 to 70 
miles per hour, told Bogard that in several weeks he w^ould have the 
money to make a purchase. Bogard asserted that the customer gave 
his name as "Lee Oswald," which Bogard wrote on a business card. 
After Oswald's name was mentioned on the radio on November 22, 
Bogard assertedly threw the card in a trash can, making Ihe comment 


to coemployees that he supposed Oswald would no longer wish to buy 
a car.^^^ 

Bogard's testimony has received corroboration.^^^ The assistant 
sales manager at the time, Frank Pizzo, and a second salesman, Eugene 
M. Wilson, stated that they recall an instance when the customer de- 
scribed by Bogard was in the showroom.^^^ Another salesman, Oran 
Brown, recalled that Bogard asked him to assist the customer if he 
appeared during certain evenings when Bogard was away from the 
showroom. Brown stated that he too wrote down the customer's name 
and both he and his wife remember the name "Oswald" as being on a 
paper in his possession before the assassination.^^^ 

However, doubts exist about the accuracy of Bogard^s testimony. 
He, Pizzo, and Wilson differed on important details of what is sup- 
posed to have occurred when the customer was in the showroom. 
Whereas Bogard stated that the customer said he did not wish credit 
and wanted to purchase a car for cash,^^^ Pizzo and Wilson both indi- 
cated that the man did attempt to purchase on credit.'^°° According to 
Wilson, when the customer was told that he would be unable to pur- 
chase a car without a credit rating, substantial cash or a lengthy em- 
ployment record, he stated sarcastically, "Maybe I'm going to have to 
go back to Russia to buy a car." While it is possible that Oswald 
would have made such a remark, the statement is not consistent with 
Bogard's story. Indeed, Bogard has made no mention that the cus- 
tomer ever spoke with Wilson while he was in the showroom.'^^^ More 
important^ on November 23, a search through the showroom's refuse 
was made, but no paper bearing Oswald's name was found.'^^^ The 
paper on which Brown reportedly wrote Oswald's name also has never 
been located.^^* 

The assistant sales manager, Mr. Pizzo, who saw Bogard's prospect 
on November 9 and shortly after the assassination felt that Oswald 
may have been this man, later examined pictures of Oswald and ex- 
pressed serious doubts that the person with Bogard was in fact 
Oswald. While noting a resemblance, he did not believe that Oswald's 
hairline matched that of the person who had been in the showroom on 
November 9.^°^ Wilson has stated that Bogard's customer was only 
about 5 feet tall.'^^^ Several persons who knew Oswald have testi- 
fied that he was unable to drive,^^^ although Mrs. Paine, who was 
giving Oswald driving lessons, stated that Oswald was showing some 
improvement by November.'^^^ Moreover, Oswald's whereabouts on 
November 9, as testified to by Marina Oswald and Ruth Paine, would 
have made it impossible for him to have visited the automobile show- 
room as Mr. Bogard claims.^^^ 

Alleged association with various Mexican or Cuban individuals. — 
The Commission has examined Oswald's known or alleged contacts 
and activities in an effort to ascertain whether or not he was involved 
in any conspiracy may be seen in the investigation it conducted 
as a result of the testimony given by Mrs. Sylvia Odio. The Com- 
mission investigated her statements in connection with its consid- 


eration of the testimony of several witnesses suggesting that Oswald 
may have been seen in the company of unidentified persons of 
Cuban or Mexican background. Mrs. Odio was born in Havana in 
1937 and remained in Cuba until 1960; it appears that both 
of her parents are political prisoners of the Castro regime. Mrs. 
Odio is a member of the Cuban Revolutionary Junta (JURE), an 
anti-Castro organization.^^° She testified that late in September 
1963, three men came to her apartment in Dallas and asked 
her to help them prepare a letter soliciting funds for JURE activities. 
She claimed that the men, who exhibited personal familiarity with 
her imprisoned father, asked her if she were "working in the under- 
ground," and she replied that she was not.^^^ She testified that two 
of the men appeared to be Cubans, although they also had some char- 
acteristics that she associated with Mexicans. Those two men did not 
state their full names, but identified themselves only by their fictitious 
underground "war names." Mrs. Odio remembered the name of one of 
the Cubans as "Leopoldo." The third man, an American, allegedly 
was introduced to Mrs. Odio as "Leon Oswald," and she was told that 
he was very much interested in the Cuban cause. Mrs. Odio said 
that the men told her that they had just come from New Orleans and 
that they were then about to leave on a trip."^^* Mrs. Odio testified 
that the next day Leopoldo called her on the telephone and told her 
that it was his idea to introduce the American into the underground 
"because he is great, he is kind of nuts." Leopoldo also said that the 
American had been in the Marine Corps and was an excellent shot, and 
that the American said the Cubans "don't have any guts * * * be- 
cause President Kennedy should have been assassinated after the Bay 
of Pigs, and some Cubans should have done that, because he was the 
one that was holding the freedom of Cuba actually." 

Although Mrs. Odio suggested doubts that the men were in fact 
members of JURE, she was certain that the American who was in- 
troduced to her as Leon Oswald was Lee Harvey Oswald.^^* Her sister, 
who was in the apartment at the time of the visit by the three men, and 
who stated that she saw them briefly in the hallway when answering 
the door, also believed that the American was Lee Har^^ey Oswald.^^^ 
By referring to the date on which she moved from her former apart- 
ment, October 1, 1963, Mrs. Odio fixed the date of the alleged visit 
on the Thursday or Friday immediately preceding that date, i.e., 
September 26 or 27. She was positive that the visit occurred prior to 
October l.'^^o 

During the course of its investigation, however, the Commission 
concluded that Oswald could not have been in Dallas on the evening 
of either September 26 or 27, 1963. It also developed considerable 
evidence that he was not in Dallas at any time between the beginning 
of September and October 3, 1963. On April 24, Oswald left Dallas 
for New Orleans, where he lived until his trip to Mexico City in late 
September and his subsequent return to Dallas. Oswald is known to 


have been in New Orleans as late as September 23, 1963, the date on 
which Mrs. Paine and Marina Oswald left New Orleans for Dallas/^^ 
Sometime between 4 p.m. on September 24 and 1 p.m. on September 
25, Oswald cashed an unemployment compensation check at a store 
in New Orleans ; under normal procedures this check would not 
have reached Oswald's postal box in New Orleans until at least 5 a.m. 
on September 25.^^^ The store at which he cashed the check did not 
open until 8 a.m.^-^ Therefore, it appeared that Oswald's presence in 
New Orleans until sometime between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m. on September 
25 was quite firmly established. 

Although there is no firm evidence ,of the means by which Oswald 
traveled from New Orleans to Houston, on the first leg of his Mexico 
City trip, the Commission noted that a Continental Trailways bus leav- 
ing New Orleans at 12 :30 p.m. on September 25 would have brought 
Oswald to Houston at 10 :50 p.m. that evening.^^^ His presence on this 
bus would be consistent with other evidence before the Commission.'^^® 
There is strong evidence that on September 26, 1963, Oswald trav- 
eled on Continental Trailways bus No. 5133 which left Houston 
at 2:35 a.m. for Laredo, Tex. Bus company records disclose that 
one ticket from Houston to Laredo was sold during the night shift 
on September 25-26, and that such ticket was the only one of its 
kind sold in the period of September 24 through September 26. 
The agent who sold this ticket has stated that Oswald could have 
been the purchaser.^^'^ Two English passengers. Dr. and Mrs. John 
B. McFarland, testified that they saw Oswald riding alone on this 
bus shortly after they awoke at 6 a.m.^^ The bus was scheduled to 
arrive in Laredo at 1 :20 p.m. on September 26, and Mexican im- 
migration records show that Oswald in fact crossed the border at 
Laredo to Nuevo Laredo, Mexico, between 6 a.m. and 2 p.m. on that 
day.^2^ Evidence set out in appendix XIII establishes that Oswald 
did not leave Mexico until October 3, and that he arrived in Dallas 
the same day. 

The Commission noted that the only time not strictly accounted for 
during the period that Mrs. Odio thought Oswald might have visited 
her is the span between the morning of September 25 and 2 :35 a.m. 
on September 26. The only public means of transportation by which 
Oswald could have traveled from New Orleans to Dallas in time to 
catch his bus from Houston to Laredo, would have been the airlines. 
Investigation disclosed no indication that he flew between these 
points.^^^ Moreover, it did not seem probable that Oswald would 
speed from New Orleans, spend a short time talking to Sylvia Odio, 
and then travel from Dallas to Mexico City and back on the bus. 
Automobile travel in the time available, though perhaps possible, 
would have been difficult."^^^ The Commission noted, however, that if 
Oswald had reached Dallas on the evening of September 25, he could 
have traveled by bus to Alice, Tex., and there caught the bus which 
had left Houston for Laredo at 2:35 a.m. on September 26, 19'63.'^^2 
Further investigation in that regard indicated, however, that no tickets 
were sold, during the period September 23-26, 1963 for travel from 


Dallas to Laredo or points beyond by the Dallas office of Continental 
Trailways, the only bus line on which Oswald could have made con- 
nections with the bus on which he was later seen. Furthermore, if 
Oswald had traveled from Dallas to Alice, he would not have readied 
the Houston to Laredo bus until after he was first reportedly observed 
on it by the McFarlands/^^ Oswald had also told passengers on the 
bus to Laredo that he had traveled from New Orleans by bus, and made 
no mention of an intervening trip to Dallas."* In addition, the Com- 
mission noted evidence that on the evening of September 25, 1963, 
Oswald made a telephone call to a party in Houston proposing to visit 
a resident of Houston that evening and the fact that such a call 
would appear to be inconsistent with Oswald's having been in Dallas 
at the time. It thus appeared that the evidence was persuasive that 
Oswald was not in Dallas on September 25, and, therefore, that he was 
not in that city at the time Mrs. Odio said she saw him. 

In spite of the fact that it appeared almost certain that Oswald 
could not have been in Dallas at the time Mrs. Odio thought he was, 
the Commission requested the FBI to conduct further investigation 
to determine the validity of Mrs. Odio's testimony."^^® The Com- 
mission considered the problems raised by that testimony as im- 
portant in view of the possibility it raised that Oswald may have 
had companions on his trip to Mexico." The Commission specifically 
requested the FBI to attempt to locate and identify the two men who 
Mrs. Odio stated were with the man she thought was Oswald. 
In an effort to do that the FBI located and interviewed Manuel Ray, 
a leader of JURE who confirmed that Mrs. Odio's parents were 
political prisoners in Cuba, but stated that he did not know anything 
about the alleged Oswald visit."^^^ The same was true of Rogelio 
Cisneros,^*^ a former anti-Castro leader from Miami who had visited 
Mrs. Odio in June of 1962 in connection with certain anti-Castro 
activities."^" Additional investigation was conducted in Dallas and 
in other cities in search of the visitors to Mrs. Odio's apartment.'^*^ 
Mrs. Odio herself was reinterviewed."^^^ 

On September 16, 1964, the FBI located Loran Eugene Hall in 
Johnsandale, Calif.'^** Hall has been identified as a participant in 
numerous anti-Castro activities."^*^ He told the FBI that in Septem- 
ber of 1963 he was in Dallas, soliciting aid in connection with anti- 
Castro activities. He said he had visited Mrs. Odio. He was accom- 
panied by Lawrence Howard, a Mexican-American from East Los 
Angeles and one William Seymour from Arizona. He stated that 
Seymour is similar in appearance to Lee Harvey Oswald; he speaks 
only a few words of Spanish,^*^ as Mrs. Odio had testified one of the 
men who visited her did.^*^ Wliile the FBI had not yet completed 
its investigation into this matter at the time the report went to press, 
the Commission has concluded that Lee Harvey Oswald was not at 
Mrs. Odio's apartment in September of 1963. 

The Commission has also noted the testimony of Evaristo Rodri- 
guez, a bartender in the Habana Bar in New Orleans, to the effect that 
he saw Oswald in that bar in August of 1963 in the company of a 


Latin-appearing man.^^^ Rodriguez' description of the man accom- 
panying the person he thought to be Oswald was similar in respects to 
the description given by Sylvia Odio since both testified that the man 
may have been of either Cuban or Mexican extraction, and had a slight 
bald spot on the forepart of his hairline/*^ Rodriguez' identification 
of Oswald was uncorroborated except for the testimony of the owner 
of the bar, Orest Pena ; according to Rodriguez, Pena was not in a po- 
sition to observe the man he thought later to have been Oswald.'^^^ 
Although Pena has testified that he did observe the same person as 
did Rodriguez, and that this person was Oswald,^^^ an FBI interview 
report indicated that a month earlier Pena had stated that he "could 
not at this time or at any time say whether or not the person was identi- 
cal with Lee Harvey Oswald." Though when testifying, Pena 
identified photographs of Oswald, the FBI report also recorded that 
Pena "stated the only reason he was able to recognize Oswald was 
because he had seen Oswald's picture in the news media so often after 
the assassination of President John F. Kennedy." When present 
at Pena's bar, Oswald was supposed to have been intoxicated to the 
extent that he became ill,^^* which is inconsistent with other evidence 
that Oswald did not drink alcoholic beverages to excess.*^^^ 

The Commission has also noted the testimony of Dean Andrews, an 
attorney in New Orleans. Andrews stated that Oswald came to his 
office several times in the summer of 1963 to seek advice on a less 
than honorable discharge from the Armed Forces, the citizenship status 
of his wife and his own citizenship status. Andrews, who believed 
that he was contacted on November 23 to represent Oswald, testified 
that Oswald was always accompanied by a Mexican and was at times 
accompanied by apparent homosexuals.^^^ Andrews was able to locate 
no records of any of Oswald's alleged visits, and investigation has 
failed to locate the person who supposedly called Andrews on Novem- 
ber 23, at a time when Andrews was under heavy sedation."^^^ While 
one of Andrews' employees felt that Oswald might have been at his 
office, his secretary has no recollection of Oswald being there.^^® 

Oswald Was Not an Agent for the U.S. Government 

From the time of his release from the Marine Corps until the as- 
sassination, Lee Harvey Oswald dealt in various transactions with 
several agencies of the U.S. Government. Before departing the 
United States for the Soviet Union in 1959, he obtained an American 
passport, which he returned to the Embassy in Moscow in October 
1959 when he attempted to renounce his U.S. citizenship. Thereafter, 
while in the Soviet Union, Oswald had numerous contacts with the 
American Embassy, both in person and through correspondence. Two 
years later, he applied for the return and renewal of his passport, 
which was granted him. His application concerning the admittance 
of his wife to this country was passed upon by the Immigration and 
Naturalization Service of the Department of Justice in addition to 
the State Department. And before returning to this country, he 


secured a loan from the State Department to help cover his transporta-r 
tion costs from Moscow to New York. These dealings with the Dapart- 
ment of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service have 
been reviewed earlier in this chapter and are considered in detail in 
appendix XV. After his return, Oswald was interviewed on three 
occasions by agents of the FBI, and Mrs. Paine was also questioned 
by the FBI about Oswald^s activities. Oswald obtained a second 
passport in June of 1963. And both the FBI and the CIA 
took note of his Fair Play for Cuba Committee activities in New 
Orleans and his appearance at the Soviet consulate in Mexico City. 
For reasons which Avill be discussed fully in chapter VIII, Oswald's 
name was never given to the U.S. Secret Service. 

These dealings have given rise to numerous rumors and allegations 
that Oswald may have been a paid informant or some type of under- 
cover agent for a Federal agency, usually the FBI or the CIA. The 
Commission has fully explored whether Oswald had any official or 
unofficial relationship with any Federal agency beyond that already 

Oswald's mother, Mrs. Marguerite Oswald, testified before the Com- 
mission that she believes her son went to Eussia and returned as an 
undercover agent for the U.S. Govemment."^^^ Mrs. Oswald men- 
tioned the belief that her son was an agent to a State Department 
representative whom she visited in January 1961, when she was trying 
to locate her son.^^° She had been interviewed earlier by FBI Agent 
John W. Fain, within some 6 months of Oswald's departure for Rus- 
sia, and did not at that time suggest such an explanation for Oswald's 
departure.'^^^ Though provided the opportunity to present any ma- 
terial she considered pertinent, Mrs. Oswald was not able to give the 
Commission any reasonable basis for her speculation. As discussed 
later in this chapter, the Commission has investigated Marguerite Os- 
wald's claim that an FBI agent showed her a picture of Jack Ruby 
after the assassination but before Lee Harvey Oswald had been killed ; 
this allegation was inaccurate, since the picture was not of Ruby. 

After the assassination it was reported that in 1962 Oswald had told 
Pauline Bates, a public stenographer in Fort Worth, Tex., that he 
had become a "secret agent" of the U.S. Government and that he was 
soon going back to Russia "for Washington." Mrs. Bates in her 
sworn testimony denied that Oswald ever told her anything to that 
effect.'^^* She testified that she had stated "that when he first said that 
he went to Russia and had gotten a visa that I thought — it was just a 
thought — that maybe he was going over under the auspices of the State 
Department — as a student or something." 

In order to evaluate the nature of Oswald's dealings with the De- 
partment of State and the Immigration and Naturalization Service, 
the Commission has obtained the complete files of both the Department 
and the Service pertaining to Lee Harvey Oswald. Officials who were 
directly involved in dealing with the Oswald case on these matters 
have testified before the Commission. A critical evaluation of the 
manner in which they were handled by these organizations is set forth 


in appendix XV. The record establishes that Oswald received no 
preferential treatment and that his case involved no impropriety on 
the part of any Government official. 

Director John A. McCone and Deputy Director Richard Helms of 
the Central Intelligence Agency testified before the Commission that 
no one connected with the CIA had ever interviewed Oswald or com- 
municated with him in any way.'^^^ In his supplementing affidavit, 
Director McCone stated unequivocally that Oswald was not an agent, 
employee, or informant of the CIA, that the Agency never conununi- 
cated with him in any manner or furnished him any compensation, 
and that Oswald was never directly or indirectly associated with the 
CIA.^^^ The Commission has had access to the full CIA file on Os- 
wald which is entirely consistent with Director McCone's statements. 

The Director of the FBI, J. Edgar Hoover, Assistant to the Di- 
rector Alan H. Belmont, FBI Agents John W. Fain and John L. 
Quigley, who interviewed Oswald, and FBI Agent James P. Hosty, 
Jr., who was in charge of his case at the time of the assassination, 
have also testified before the Commission. All declared, in substance, 
that Oswald was not an informant or agent of the FBI, that he did not 
act in any other capacity for the FBI, and that no attempt was made 
to recruit him in any capacity.*^^® Director Hoover and each Bureau 
agent, who according to the FBI would have been responsible for or 
aware of any attempt to recruit Oswald as an informant, have also 
provided the Commission with sworn affidavits to this effect. "^^^ Di- 
rector Hoover has sworn that he caused a search to be made of the 
records of the Bureau, and that the search discloses that Oswald "was 
never an informant of the FBI, and never assigned a symbol number 
in that capacity, and was never paid any amount of money by the 
FBI in any regard." This testimony is corroborated by the Com- 
mission's independent review of the Bureau files dealing with the 
Oswald investigation. 

The Commission also investigated the circumstances which led to 
the presence in Oswald's address book of the name of Agent Hosty 
together with his office address, telephone number, and license num- 
ber.^^^ Hosty and Mrs. Paine testified that on November 1, 1963, 
Hosty left his name and phone number with Mrs. Paine so that she 
could advise Hosty when she learned where Oswald was living in 
Dallas.^^2 Mrs. Paine and Marina Oswald have testified that Mrs. 
Paine handed Oswald the slip of paper on which Hosty had written 
this information.''^^ In accordance with prior instructions from 
Oswald,^^* Marina Oswald noted Hosty's license number which she 
gave to her husband."^ The address of the Dallas office of the FBI 
could have been obtained from many public sources. 

Thus, close scrutiny of the records of the Federal agencies involved 
and the testimony of the responsible officials of the U.S. Government 
establish that there was absolutely no type of informant or undercover 
relationship between an agency of the U.S. Government and Lee 
Harvey Oswald at any time. 


Oswald's Finances 

In search of activities or payments demonstrating the receipt of un- 
explained funds, the Commission undertook a detailed study of 
Oswald's receipts and expenditures starting with the date of his 
return from the Soviet Union on June 13, 1962, and continuing to the 
date of his arrest on November 22, 1963. In appendix XIV there 
appears a table listing Oswald's estimated receipts and expenditures 
on a monthly basis during this period. 

The Commission was assisted in this phase of the investigation by 
able investigators of the Internal Eevenue Service of the Department 
of the Treasury and by agents of the FBI. The investigation extended 
far beyond interrogation of witnesses who appeared before the Com- 
mission. At banks in New Orleans, La. ; Fort Worth, Dallas, Houston, 
and Laredo, Tex., inquiries were made for any record of a checking, 
savings, or loan accounts or a safe deposit box rented in the names of 
Lee Harvey Oswald, his known aliases, or members of his immediate 
family. In many cases a photograph of Oswald was exhibited to 
bank officials who were in a position to see a person in the safe deposit 
box area of their banks. No bank account or safe deposit boxes were 
located which could be identified with Oswald during this period of 
his life, although evidence was developed of a bank account which he 
had used prior to his trip to the Soviet Union in 1959. Telegraph 
companies were checked for the possibility of money orders that may 
have been sent to Oswald. All known locations where Oswald cashed 
checks which he received were queried as to the possibility of his having 
cashed other checks there. Further inquiries were made at Oswald's 
places of employment, his residences and with local credit associations, 
hospitals, utility companies, State and local government offices, post 
offices, periodicals, newspapers, and employment agencies."^^® 

Marina Oswald testified that she knew of no sources of income 
Oswald other than his wages and his unemployment compensa- 
tion."^ No evidence of other cash income has been discovered. 
The Commission has found that the funds known ^to have been avail- 
able to Oswald during the period June 13, 1962, through November 22, 
1963, were sufficient to cover all of his known expenditures during this 
period. Including cash on hand of $63 when he arrived from the 
Soviet Union, the Oswalds received a total of $3,665.89 in cash from 
wages, unemployment compensation benefits, loans, and gifts from 
acquaintances. His cash disbursements durmg this period were esti- 
mated at $3,501.79, leaving a balance of $164.10. (See app. XIV.) 
This estimated balance is within $19 of the $183.87 in cash which was 
actually in Oswald's possession at the time of his arrest, consisting 
of $13.87 on his person and $170 in his wallet left at the Paine house."^* 

In computing Oswald's expenditures, estimates were made for food, 
clothing, and incidental expenses. The incidental expenses included 
telephone calls, the cost of local newspapers, money order and check- 
cashing fees, postage, local transportation costs, personal care goods 
and services, and other such small items. All of these expenses, in- 


eluding food and clothing, were estimated at a slightly higher figure 
than would be normal for a family with the income of the Oswalds, 
and probably higher than the Oswalds actually spent on such items.'''^ 
This was done in order to be certain that even if some of Oswald's 
minor expenditures are not known, he had adequate funds to cover 
his known expenditures. 

During the 17-month period preceding his death, Oswald's pattern 
of living was consistent with his limited income. He lived with his 
family in furnished apartments whose cost, including utilities, ranged 
from about $60 to $75 per month."^^*^ Witnesses testified to his wife's 
disappointment and complaints and to their own shock and misgiv- 
ings about several of the apartments in which the Oswalds lived 
during the period.^*^ Moreover, the Oswalds, particularly Marina, 
frequently lived with relatives and acquaintances at no cost. Oswald 
and his family lived with his brother Robert and then with Marguerite 
Oswald from June until sometime in August 19Q2J^^ As discussed 
previously, Marina Oswald lived with Elena Hall and spent a few 
nights at the Taylors' house during October of 1962 ; in Novem- 
ber of that same year, Marina Oswald lived with two families."^^* 
When living away from his family Oswald rented rooms for $7 and 
$8 per week or stayed at the YMCA in Dallas where he paid $2.25 
per day.^^^ During late April and early May 1963, Oswald lived 
with relatives in New Orleans, while his wife lived with Ruth Paine 
in Irving, Tex.^^^ From September 24, 1963, until November 22, 
Marina Oswald stayed with Ruth Paine, while Oswald lived in room- 
inghouses in Dallas."^^^ During the period Marina Oswald resided 
with others, neither she nor her husband made any contribution to her 

The Oswalds owned no major household appliances, had no 
automobile, and resorted to dental and hospital clinics for medical 
care."^^^ Acquaintances purchased baby furniture for them, and paid 
dental bills in one instance.^^° After his return to the United States, 
Oswald did not smoke or drink, and he discouraged his wife from 
doing so.'^^ Oswald spent much of his time reading books which he 
obtained from the public library, and periodicals to which he sub- 
scribed."^^^ He resided near his place of employment and used buses 
to travel to and from work."^^^ When he visited his wife and the chil- 
dren on weekends in October and November 1963, he rode in a neigh- 
bor's car, making no contribution for gasoline or other expenses."^^* 
Oswald's personal wardrobe was also very modest. He customarily 
wore T-shirts, cheap slacks, well-worn sweaters, and well-used zipper 
jackets. Oswald owned one suit, of Russian make and purchase, poor 
fitting and of heavy fabric which, despite its unsuitability to the 
climates of Texas and Louisiana and his obvious discomfort, he wore 
on the few occasions that required dress."^^^ 

Food for his family was extremely meager. Paul Gregory testified 
that during the 6 weeks that Marina Oswald tutored him he took the 
Oswalds shopping for food and groceries on a number of occasions 
and that he was "amazed at how little they bought." Their friends 


730-900 0-64— 23 

in the Dallas-Fort Worth area frequently brought them food and 
groceries/^^ Marina testified that her husband ate "very little." He 
"never had breakfast. He just drank coffee and that is all. Not be- 
cause he was trying to economize. Simply he never liked to eat." 
She estimated that when he was living by himself in a roominghouse, 
he would spend "about a dollar, $1.30" for dinner and have a sand- 
wich and soft drink for lunch.'^^ 

The thrift which Oswald exercised in meeting his living expenses 
allowed him to accumulate sufficient funds to meet other expenses 
which he incurred after his return from the Soviet Union. From his 
return until January of 1963, Oswald repaid the $435.71 he had bor- 
rowed from the State Department for travel expenses from Moscow, 
and the $200 loan he had obtained from his brother Robert to fly from 
New York to Dallas upon his return to this country. He completed the 
retirement of the debt to his brother in October 1962.^^^ His cash 
receipts from all sources from the day of his arrival in Fort Worth 
through October 1962 aggregated $719.94; it is estimated that he 
could have made the repayments to Robert and met his other known 
expenses and still have been left with savings of $122.06 at the end 
of the month. After making initial $10 monthly payments to the 
K!'i:ate Department, Oswald paid the Government $190 in December 
and $206 in January, thus liquidating that debt.^°° From his net 
earning of $805.96 from November through January plus his prior 
savings, Oswald could have made these payments to the State De- 
partment, met his other known expenses, and still have had a balance 
of $8.59 at the end of January 1963. In discussing the repayment 
of these debts, Marina Oswald testified : "Of course we did not live 
in luxury. We did not buy anytliing that was not absolutely needed, 
because Lee had to pay his debt to Robert and to the Government. 
But it was not particularly difficult." 

Included in the total figure for Oswald's disbursements were $21.45 
for the rifle used in the assassination and $31.22 for the revolver with 
which Oswald shot Officer Tippit. The major portion of the purchase 
price for these weapons was paid in March 1963, when Oswald had 
finished paying his debts, and the purchases were compatible with 
the total funds then available to him.^^^ During May, J une, and July 
of 1963, Oswald spent approximately $23 for circulars, application 
blanks, and membership cards for his one-man New Orleans chapter 
of the Fair Play for Cuba Committee.^^^ In August he paid $2 to one 
and possibly two young men to assist in passing out circulars and then 
paid a $10 court fuie after pleading guilty to a charge of disturbing 
the peace.^°* Although some of these expenses were incurred after 
Oswald lost his job on July 19, 1963, his wages during June and July, 
and his unemployment compensation thereafter, provided sufficient 
funds to enable him to finance these activities out of his own 

Although Oswald paid his own busf are to New Orleans on April 24, 
1963, his wife and the baby were taken there, at no cost to Oswald, 
by Ruth Paine.^°^ Similarly, Ruth Paine drove to New Orleans in 


September and brought Marina Oswald and the baby back to Irving, 
Tex.^°^ Oswald's uncle, Charles Murret, also paid for the short trip 
taken by Oswald and his family from New Orleans to Mobile, Ala., on 
July 27, 1963.^°^ It is estimated that when Oswald left for Mexico 
City in September 1963, he had accumulated slightly over $200. 
Marina Oswald testified that when he left for Mexico City he had 
"a little over $100," though she may not have taken into account the 
$33 unemployment compensation check which Oswald collected after 
her departure from New Orleans.^°^ In any event, expenses in 
Mexico have been estimated as approximately $85, based on trans- 
portation costs of $50 and a hotel expense of about $1.28 per day. 
Oswald ate inexpensively and, allowing $15 for entertainment and 
miscellaneous items, it would appear that he had the funds available to 
finance the trip.^^° 

The Commission has considered the testimony of Leonard E. Hutchi- 
son, proprietor of Hutch's Market in Irving, in comiection with 
Oswald's finances. Hutchison has testified that on a Friday during 
the first week in November, a man he believes to have been Lee Harvey 
Oswald attempted to cash a "two-party," or personal check for $189, 
but that he refused to cash the check since his policy is to cash personal 
checks for no more than $25.®^^ Oswald is not known to have received 
a check for this amount from any source. 

On Friday, November 1, Oswald did cash a Texas Unemployment 
Commission check for $33 at another supermarket in Irving ,^^2 so that 
a possible explanation of Hutchison's testimony is that he refused to 
cash this $33 check for Oswald and is simply in error as to the amount 
of the instrument. However, since the check cashed at the super- 
market was issued by the State comptroller of Texas, it is not likely 
that Hutchison could have confused it with a personal check. 

Examination of Hutchison's testimony indicates that a more likely 
explanation is that Oswald was not in his store at all. Hutchison 
testified that the man who attempted to cash the check was a customer 
in his store on previous occasions; in particular, Hutchison recalled 
that the man, accompanied by a woman he believes was Marina 
Oswald and an elderly woman, were shopping in his store in October 
or November of 1963 on a night he feels certain was a Wednesday 
evening.^^^ Oswald, however, is not known to have been in Irving 
on any Wednesday evening during this period.^^^ Neither of the two 
checkers at the market recall such a visit by a person matching the 
description provided by Hutchison, and both Marina Oswald and 
Marguerite Oswald deny that they were ever in Hutchison's store.^^^ 
Hutchison further stated that the man made irregular calls at his 
grocery between 7 :20 a.m. and 7 :45 a.m. on weekday mori;ings, and 
always purchased cinnamon rolls and a full gallon of milk.^^^ How- 
ever, the evidence indicates that except for rare occasions Oswald 
was in Irving only on weekends; moreover, Buell Wesley Frazier, 
who drove Oswald to and from Irving on these occasions, testified 
that on Monday mornings he picked Oswald up at a point which 
is many blocks from Hutchison's store and ordinarily by 7 :20 a.m.®^^ 


Hutchison also testified that Ruth Paine was an occasional customer 
in his store; however, Mrs. Paine indicated that she was not in 
the store as often as Hutchison testified ; and her appearance is dis- 
similar to the description of the woman Hutchison stated was Mrs. 
Paine.^2'' In light of the strong reasons for doubting the correctness 
of Hutchison's testimony and the absence of any other sign that Oswald 
ever possessed a personal check for $189, the Commission was unable to 
conclude that he ever received such a check. 

The Commission has also examined a report that, not long before 
the assassination, Oswald may have received unaccounted funds 
through money orders sent to him in Dallas. Five days after the 
assassmation, C. A. Hamblen, early night manager for the Western 
Union Telegraph Co. in Dallas, told his superior that about 2 weeks 
earlier he remembered Oswald sending a telegram from the office to 
Washington, D.C., possibly to the Secretary of the Navy, and that the 
application was completed in an unusual form of hand printing.^^^ 
The next day Hamblen told a magazine correspondent who was in 
the Western Union office on other business that he remembered seeing 
Oswald in the office on prior occasions collecting money orders for 
small amounts of money .^^^ Soon thereafter Hamblen signed a state- 
ment relating to both the telegram and the money orders, and specify- 
ing two instances in which he had seen the person he believed to be 
Oswald in the office ; in each instance the man had behaved disagreeably 
and one other Western Union employee had become involved in as- 
sisting him.^^ 

During his testimony, Hamblen did not recall with clarity the 
statements he had previously made, and was imable to state whether 
the person he reportedly had seen m the Western Union office was or 
was not Lee Harvey Oswald.^^* Investigation has disclosed that a 
second employee does recall one of the occurrences described by 
Hamblen, and believes that the money order in question was delivered 
"to someone at the YMCA" ; however, he is unable to state whether or 
not the man involved was Oswald.^^^ The employee referred to by 
Hamblen in connection with the second incident feels certain that the 
unusual episode described by Hamblen did not occur, and that she at 
no time observed Oswald in the Western Union office.^^^ 

At the request of Federal investigators, officers of Western Union 
conducted a complete search of their records in Dallas and in other 
cities, for the period from June through November 1963, for money 
orders payable to Lee Harvey Oswald or his known aliases and for 
telegrams sent by Oswald or his known aliases. In addition, all money 
orders addressed to persons at the YMCA in Dallas during October 
and November 1963 were inspected, and all telegrams handled from 
November 1 through November 22 by the employee who Hamblen 
assertedly saw service Oswald were examined, as were all telegrams 
sent from Dallas to Washington during November. No indication of 
any such money order or telegram was found in any of these records.^^'' 
Hamblen himself participated in this search, and was "unab"'e * * * to 
pin down any of these telegrams or money orders that would indicate 


it was Oswald." Hamblen's superiors have concluded "that this 
whole thing was a figment of Mr. Hamblen's imagination," and the 
Commission accepts this assessment. 


Jack Ruby shot Lee Harvey Oswald at 11:21 a.m., on Sunday, 
November 24, 1963, shortly after Ruby entered the basement of the 
Dallas Police Department. Almost immediately, speculation arose 
that Ruby had acted on behalf of members of a conspiracy who had 
planned the killing of President Kennedy and wanted to silence 
Oswald. This section of chapter VI sets forth the Commission's in- 
vestigation into the possibility that Ruby, together with Oswald 
or with others, conspired to kill the President, or that Ruby, though 
not part of any such conspiracy, had accomplices in the slaying of 
Oswald. Presented first are the results of the Commission's de- 
tailed inquiry into Ruby's actions from November 21 to November 24. 
In addition, this section analyzes the numerous rumors and suspicions 
that Ruby and Oswald were acquainted and examines Ruby's back- 
ground and associations for evidence of any conspiratorial relationship 
or motive. A detailed life of Ruby is given in appendix XVI which 
provides supplemental information about Ruby and his associations. 

Ruby's Activities From November 21 to November 24, 1963 

The Commission has attempted to reconstruct as precisely as possi- 
ble the movements of Jack Ruby during the period November 
21-November 24, 1963. It has done so on the premise that, if 
Jack Ruby were involved in a conspiracy, his activities and associa- 
tions during this period would, in some way, have reflected the conspir- 
atorial relationship. The Commission has not attempted to determine 
the time at which Ruby first decided to make his attack on Lee Harvey 
Oswald, nor does it purport to evaluate the psychiatric and related 
legal questions which have arisen from the assault upon Oswald. 
Ruby's activities during this 3-day period have been scrutinized, how- 
ever, for the insight they provide into whether the shooting of Oswald 
was grounded in any form of conspiracy. 

The eve of the President'^s visit. — On Thursday, November 21, Jack 
Ruby was attending to his usual duties as the proprietor of two Dallas 
night spots — ^the Carousel Club, a downtown nightclub featuring strip- 
tease dancers, and the Vegas Club, a rock-and-roll establishment in the 
Oaklawn section of Dallas. Both clubs opened for business each day 
in the early eveniag and continued 7 days a week until after mid- 
night.^2^ Ruby arrived at the Carousel Club at about 3 p.m. Thursday 
afternoon, as was his custom,®^^ and remained long enough to chat 
with a friend and receive messages from Larry Crafard, a handyman 
and helper who lived at the Carousel.^^^ Earlier in the day Ruby 
had visited with a young lady who was job hunting in Dallas,^^^ paid 


his rent for the Carousel premises,^^* conferred about a peace bond he 
had been obliged to post as a result of a fight ^vith one of his striptease 
dancers,^^^ consulted with an attorney about problems he was having 
with Federal tax authorities,^^^ distributed membership cards for the 
Carousel Club,^^^ talked with Dallas County Assistant District At- 
torney William F. Alexander about insufficient fund checks which a 
friend had passed,^^^ and submitted advertising copy for his night- 
clubs to the Dallas Morning News.^^'* 

Ruby's evening activities on Thursday, November 21, were a com- 
bination of business and pleasure. At approximately 7:30 p.m., he 
drove Larry Craf ard to the Vegas Club which Craf ard was overseeing 
because Ruby's sister, Eva Grant, who normally managed the club, 
was convalescing from a recent illness.^*° Thereafter, Ruby re- 
turned to the Carousel Club and conversed for about an hour 
with Lawrence Meyers, a Chicago businessman.^^^ Between 9 :45 and 
10:45 p.m., Ruby had dinner with Ralph Paul, his close friend and 
financial backer. Wliile dining Ruby spoke briefly with a Dallas 
Morning News employee, Don Campbell, who suggested that they go 
to the Castaway Club, but Ruby declined.^*^ Thereafter, Ruby re- 
turned to the Carousel Club where he acted as master of ceremonies for 
his show and peacefully ejected an unruly patron.^*^ At about mid- 
night Ruby rejoined Meyers at the Bon Vivant Room of the Dallas 
Cabana where they met Meyers' brother and sister-in-law.^^* Neither 
Ralph Paul nor Lawrence Meyers recalled that Ruby mentioned the 
President's trip to Dallas.^*^ Leaving Meyers at the Cabana after a 
brief visit. Ruby returned to close the Carousel Club and obtain the 
night's receipts.**^ He then went to the Vegas Club which he helped 
Larry Craf ard close for the night; and, as late as 2 :30 a.m., Ruby 
was seen eating at a restaurant near the Vegas Club.^*^ 

Friday morning at the Dallas Morning News. — Jack Ruby learned 
of the shooting of President Kennedy while in the second-floor adver- 
tising offices of the Dallas Morning News, five blocks from the Texas 
School Book Depository, where he had come Friday morning to place 
regular weekend advertisements for his two nightclubs.^*^ On arriving 
at the newspaper building at about 11 or 11 :30 a.m., he talked briefly 
with two newspaper employees concerning some diet pills he had 
recommended to them.^^^ Ruby then went to the office of Morning 
News columnist, Tony Zoppi, where he states he obtained a brochure 
on his new master of ceremonies that he wanted to use in preparing 
copy for his advertisements.^^^ Proceeding to the advertising depart- 
ment, he spoke with advertising employee Don Campbell from about 
noon until 12 :25 p.m. when Campbell left the office.^^^ In addition to 
the business at hand, much of the conversation concerned Ruby's un- 
happiness over the financial condition of his clubs and his professed 
ability to handle the physical fights which arose in connection with the 
cJubs.^^^ According to Campbell, Ruby did not mention the Presi- 
dential motorcade nor did he display any unusual behavior.^^* 

About 10 minutes after the President had been shot but before word 
had spread to the second floor, Jolm Newnam, an advertising de- 


partment employee, observed Ruby sitting at the same spot where 
Campbell had left him. At that time Ruby had completed the 
advertisement, which he had apparently begun to compose when 
Campbell departed, and was reading a newspaper.^^^ To Newnam, 
Ruby voiced criticism of the black-bordered advertisement entitled 
"Welcome, Mr. Kennedy" appearing in the morning paper and bearing 
the name of Bernard Weissman as the chairman of the committee 
sponsoring the advertisement.^^^ (See Commission Exhibit No. 1031, 
p. 294. ) According to Eva Grant, Ruby's sister, he had telephoned her 
earlier in the morning to call her attention to the ad.^" At about 12 :45 
p.m., an employee entered the office and announced that shots had been 
fired at the President. Newnam remembered that Ruby responded 
with a look of "stunned disbelief." 

Shortly afterward, according to Newnam, "confusion reigned" in 
the office as advertisers telephoned to cancel advertising they had 
placed for the weekend.^^^ Ruby appears to have believed that some 
of those cancellations were motivated by the Weissman advertise- 
ment.^^° After Newnam accepted a few telephone calls, he and Ruby 
walked toward a. room where other persons were watching television.^^^ 
One of the newspaper employees recalled that Ruby then appeared 
"obviously shaken, and an ashen color — just very pale * * *" 
showed little disposition to converse,^^^ and sat for a while with a dazed 
expression in his eyes.^^* 

After a few minutes. Ruby placed telephone calls to Andrew Arm- 
strong, his assistant at the Carousel Club, and to his sister, Mrs. 
Grant. He told Armstrong, "If anything happens we are going to 
close the club" and said he would see him in about 30 minutes.^^^ 
During the call to his sister. Ruby again referred to the Weissman 
advertisement; at one point he put the telephone to N'ewnam's ear, 
and Newnam heard Mrs. Grant exclaim, "My God, what do they 
want?" It was Newnam's recollection that Ruby tried to calm her.^®^ 

Ruby testified that after calling his sister he said, "John, I will have 
to leave Dallas." Ruby explained to the Commission : 

I don't know why I said that, but it is a funny reaction that you 
feel ; the city is terribly let down by the tragedy that happened. 
And I said, "John, I am not opening up tonight." 

And I don't know what else transpired. I know people were 
just heartbroken * * *. 

I left the building and I went down and I got in my car and 
I couldn't stop crying. * * * 

Newnam estimated that Ruby departed from the Morning News at 
about 1 :30 p.m., but other testimony indicated that Ruby may have 
left earlier .^^^ 

Ruby^s alleged visit to ParMand Hospital. — The Commission has 
investigated claims that Jack Ruby was at Parkland Hospital at about 
1 :30 p.m., when a Presidential press secretary, Malcolm Kilduff, an- 
nounced that President Kennedy was dead. Seth Kantor, a newspa- 
perman who had previously met Ruby in Dallas, reported and later 


testified that J ack Ruby stopped him momentarily inside the main en- 
trance to Parkland Hospital some time between 1 :30 and 2 p.m., Fri- 
day, November 22, 1963.^^^ The only other person besides Kantor who 
recalled seeing Ruby at the hospital did not make known her observa- 
tion until April 1964, had never seen Ruby before, allegedly saw him 
only briefly then, had an obstructed view, and was uncertain of the 
time.^^^ Ruby has firmly denied going to Parkland and has stated 
that he went to the Carousel Club upon leaving the Morning News.®^^ 
Video tapes of the scene at Parkland do not show Ruby there, although 
Kantor can be seen.^^^ 

Investigation has limited the period during which Kantor could have 
met Ruby at Parkland Hospital on Friday to a few minutes before 
and after 1 :30 p.m. Telephone company records and the testimony of 
Andrew Armstrong established that Ruby arrived at the Carousel 
Club no later than 1 :45 p.m. and probably a few minutes earlier.^^* 
Kantor was engaged in a long-distance telephone call to his Washing- 
ton office from 1 :02 p.m. until 1 :27 p.m.^^^ Kantor testified that, after 
completing that call, he immediately left the building from which he 
had been telephoning, traveled perhaps 100 yards, and entered the 
main entrance of the hospital. It was there, as he walked through a 
small doorway, that he believed he saw Jack Ruby, who, Kantor said, 
tugged at his coattails and asked, "Should I close my places for the 
next three nights, do you think?" Kantor recalled that he turned 
briefly to Ruby and proceeded to the press conference at which the 
President's death was announced. Kantor was certain he encountered 
Ruby at Parkland but had doubts about the exact time and place.^^^ 

Kantor probably did not see Ruby at Parkland Hospital in the few 
minutes before or after 1 :30 p.m., the only time it would have been 
possible for Kantor to have done so. If Ruby immediately returned 
to the Carousel Club after Kantor saw him, it would have been neces- 
sary for him to have covered the distance from Parkland in approxi- 
mately 10 or 15 minutes in order to have arrived at the club before 1 :45 
p.m., when a telephone call was placed at Ruby's request to his enter- 
tainer, Karen Bennett Carlin.^^^ At a normal driving speed under nor- 
mal conditions the trip can be made in 9 or 10 minutes.^^^ However, it 
is likely that congested traffic conditions on November 22 would have 
extended the driving time.^^^ Even if Ruby had been able to drive 
from Parkland to the Carousel in 15 minutes, his presence at the Dallas 
Morning News until after 1 p.m., and at the Carousel prior to 
1 :45 p.m., would have made his visit at Parkland exceedingly brief. 
Since Ruby was observed at the Dallas Police Department during a 2 
hour period after 11 p.m. on Friday when Kantor was also present, 
and since Kantor did not remember seeing Ruby there,^^^ Kantor 
may have been mistaken about both the time and the place that 
he saw Ruby. When seeing Ruby, Kantor was preoccupied with 
the important event that a press conference represented. Both 
Ruby and Kantor were present at another important event, a press 
conference held about midnight, November 22, in the assembly room 
of the Dallas Police Department. It is conceivable that Kantor's en- 


counter with Euby occurred at that time, perhaps near the small door- 
way there.^®^ 

Ruby^s decision to close his clubs. — Upon arriving at the Carousel 
Club shortly before 1 :45 p.m., Euby instructed Andrew Armstrong, 
the Carousel's bartender, to notify employees that the club would be 
closed that night.^^^ During much of the next hour Ruby talked by 
telephone to several persons who were or had been especially close 
to him, and the remainder of the time he watched television and spoke 
with Armstrong and Larry Crafard about the assassination.^^* At 
1 :51 p.m., Ruby telephoned Ralph Paul in Arlington, Tex., to say that 
he was going to close his clubs. He urged Paul to do likewise with his 
drive-in restaurant.^^^ Unable to reach Alice Nichols, a former girl 
friend, who was at lunch. Ruby telephoned his sister, Eileen Kamin- 
sky, in Chicago.^^^ Mrs. Kaminsky described her brother as com- 
pletely imnerved and crying about President Kennedy's death.^^"^ 
To Mrs. Nichols, whose return call caused Ruby to cut short his con- 
versation with Mrs. Kaminsky, Ruby expressed shock over the assas- 
sination.^^^ Although Mrs. Nichols had dated Ruby for nearly 11 
years, she was surprised to hear from him on November 22 since they 
had not seen one another socially for some time.^^^ Thereafter, Ruby 
telephoned at 2 :37 p.m. to Alex Gruber, a boyhood friend from Chicago 
who was living in Los Angeles.^^ Gruber recalled that in their 3- 
minute conversation Ruby talked about a dog he had promised to send 
Gruber, a carwash business Gruber had considered starting, and the 
assassination.^^^ Ruby apparently lost his self-control during the 
conversation and terminated it.^^^ However, 2 minutes after that call 
ended. Ruby telephoned again to Ralph Paul.*^^ 

Upon leaving the Carousel Club at about 3 :15 p.m., Ruby drove to 
Eva Grant's home but left soon after he arrived, to obtain some week- 
end food for his sister and himself .^^* He first returned to the Carousel 
Club and directed Larry Crafard to prepare a sign indicating that 
the club would be closed ; however. Ruby instructed Crafard not to post 
the si^n until later in the evening to avoid informing his competitors 
that he would be closed.^^^ (See Commission Exhibit 2427, p. 339.) 
Before leaving the club. Ruby telephoned Mrs. Grant who reminded 
him to purchase food.^^^ As a result he went to the Ritz Delicatessen, 
about two blocks from the Carousel Club, and bought a great quantity 
of cold cuts.«9^ 

Ruby probably arrived a second time at his sister's home close to 
5 :30 p.m. and remained for about 2 hours. He continued his rapid 
rate of telephone calls, ate sparingly, became ill, and attempted to get 
some rest.^^^ While at the apartment. Ruby decided to close his clubs 
for 3 days. He testified that after talking to Don SaJffran, a columnist 
for the Dallas Times-Herald : 

I put the receiver down and talked to my sister, and I said, "Eva, 
what shall we do?" 

And she said, "Jack, let's close for the 3 days." She said, "We 
don't have anything anyway, but we owe it to — " (chokes up.) 


So I called Don Safi'ran back immediately and I said, "Don, 
we decided to close for Friday, Saturday, and Sunday." 
And he said, *'Okay." 

Euby then telephoned the Dallas Morning News to cancel his adver- 
tisement and, when unable to do so, he changed his ad to read that his 
clubs would be closed for the weekend.^^^ Ruby also telephoned Cecil 
Hamlin, a friend of many years. Sounding very "broken up," he told 
Hamlin that he had closed the clubs since he thought most people 
would not be in the mood to visit them and that he felt concern for 
President Kennedy's "kids." Thereafter he made two calls to as- 
certain when services at Temple Shearith Israel would be held.^^^ He 
placed a second call to Alice Nichols to tell her of his intention to 
attend those services and phoned Larry Craf ard at the Carousel to 
ask whether he had received any messages.^^* Eva Grant testified : 

When he was leaving, he looked pretty bad. This I remember. 
I can't explain it to you. He looked too broken, a broken man 
already. He did make the remark, he said, "I never felt so bad 
in my life, even when Ma or Pa died." 

So I said, "Well, Pa was an old man. He was almost 89 
years. * * *" 

Friday evening, — Ruby is uncertain whether he went directly from 
his sister's home to his apartment or possibly first to his club.^*^^ At 
least 5 witnesses recall seeing a man they believe was Ruby on the 
third floor of police headquarters at times they have estimated between 
6 and 9 p.m. ; however, it is not clear that Ruby was present at 
the Police and Courts Building before 11 p.m. With respect to 
three of the witnesses, it is doubtful that the man observed was Ruby. 
Two of those persons had not known Ruby previously and described 
wearing apparel which differed both from Ruby's known dress that 
night and from his known wardrobe.^"^ The third, who viewed from 
the rear the person he believed was Ruby, said the man unsuccessfully 
attempted to enter the homicide office.^°^ Of the police officers on 
duty near homicide at the time of the alleged event, only one remem- 
bered the episode, and he said the man in question definitely was not 
Ruby.^^^ The remaining witnesses knew or talked with Ruby, and 
their testimony leaves little doubt that they did see him on the third 
floor at some point on Friday night; however the possibility remains 
that they observed Ruby later in the evening, when his presence is con- 
clusively established.®^^ Ruby has denied being at the police de- 
partment Friday night before approximately 11 :15 p.m.®^^ 

In any event. Ruby eventually returned to his own apartment before 
9 p.m. There he telephoned Ralph Paul but was unable to persuade 
Paul to join him at synagogue services.®^^ Shortly after 9 p.m.. Ruby 
called the Chicago home of his oldest brother, Hyman Rubenstein, 
and two of his sisters, Marion Carroll and Ann Volpert.®^* Hyman 
Rubenstein testified that, during the call, his brother was so disturbed 




SATURDAY, NOV. 23, 1963 
PAGE A-13 


about the situation in Dallas that he mentioned selling his business 
and returning to Chicago.^^^ From his apartment, Ruby drove to 
Temple Shearith Israel, arriving near the end of a 2-hour service 
which had begun at 8 p.m.^^^ Rabbi Hillel Silverman, who greeted 
him among the crowd leaving the services was surprised that 
Ruby, who appeared depressed, mentioned only his sister's recent ill- 
ness and said nothing about the assassination.^^^ 

Ruby related that, after joining in the postservice refreshments,^^^ 
he drove by some night clubs, noticing whether or not they had been 
closed as his were.^^^ He testified that, as he drove toward town, a 
radio announcement that the Dallas police were working overtime 
prompted the thought that he might bring those at police headquarters 
something to eat.®^^ At about 10 :30 p.m., he stopped at a delicatessen 
near the Vegas Club and purchased 8 kosher sandwiches and 10 soft 
drinks.®^^ From the delicatessen, he called the police department but 
was told that the officers had already eaten.^^^ He said he then tried to 
offer the food to employees at radio station KLIF but failed in several 
attempts to obtain the private night line number to the station. On 
three occasions between phone calls. Ruby spoke with a group of stu- 
dents whom he did not know, lamenting the President's death, teasing 
one of the young men about being too young for his clubs, borrowing 
their copy of the Dallas Times Herald to see how his advertisements 
had been run, and stating that his clubs were the only ones that had 
closed because of the assassination. He also expressed the opinion, as 
he had earlier in the day, that the assassination would be harmful to 
the convention business in Dallas.®^^ Upon leaving the delicatessen 
with his purchases. Ruby gave the counterman as a tip a card granting 
free admission to his clubs.^^^ He drove downtown to the police sta- 
tion where he has said he hoped to find an employee from KLIF who 
could give him the "hot line" phone number for the radio station.^" 

The third floor of police headquarters. — Ruby is known to have 
made his way, by about 11 :30 p.m., to the third floor of the Dallas 
Police Department where reporters were congregated near the homi- 
cide bureau.®^® Newsman John Rutledge, one of those who may well 
have been mistaken as to time, gave the following description of his 
first encounter with Ruby at the police station : 

I saw Jack and two out-of-state reporters, whom I did not 
know, leave the elevator door and proceed toward those television 
cameras, to go around the corner where Captain Fritz's office 
was. Jack walked between them. These two out-of-state re- 
porters had big press cards pinned on their coats, great big red 
ones, I think they said "President Kennedy's Visit to Dallas — 
Press", or something like that. And Jack didn't have one, but 
the man on either side of him did. And they walked pretty 
rapidly from the elevator area past the policeman, and Jack 
was bent over like this — writing on a piece of paper, and talking 
to one of the reporters, and pointing to something on the piece 
of paper, he was kind of hunched over.®^^ 


Commission Exhibit No, 2424 

Jack Ruby at press conference in basement assembly room about midnight November 22, 
1963. (Jack Ruby is the individual in the dark suit, back row, right-hand side, 
wearing horn-rimmed glasses.) 

Commission Exhibit No. 2424 


Detective Augustus M. Eberhardt, who also recalled that he fii*st 
saw Kuby earlier in the evening, said Ruby carried a note pad and 
professed to be a translator for the Israeli press. He remembered 
Euby's remarking how unfortunate the assassmation was for the city 
of Dallas and that it was "hard to realize that a complete nothing, 
a zero like that, could kill a man like President Kemiedy * * *." ^^'^ 
Video tapes confirm Ruby's statement that he was present on the 
third floor when Chief Jesse E. Curry and District Attorney Henry M. 
Wade announced that Oswald would be shown to the newsmen at a 
press conference in the basement.^^^ Though he has said his original 
purpose was only to locate a KLIF employee, Ruby has stated that 
while at the police station he was "carried away with the excitement 
of history." He accompanied the newsmen to the basement to 
observe Oswald. His presence at the midnight news conference is 
established by television tapes and by at least 12 witnesses.^^^ When 
Oswald arrived. Ruby, together with a number of newsmen, was 
standing atop a table on one side of the room.^^* (See Commission 
Exhibit No. 2424, p. 341.) Oswald was taken from the room after a 
brief appearance, and Ruby remained to hear reporters question 
District Attorney Wade. During the press conference, Wade stated 
that Oswald would probably be moved to the county jail at the begin- 
ning of the next week.®^^ In answer to one question. Wade said that 
Oswald belonged to the "Free Cuba Committee." A few reporters 

spoke up correcting Wade and among the voices was that of Jack 

Ruby later followed the district attorney out of the press conference, 
walked up to him and, according to Wade, said "Hi Henry * * * Don't 
you know me ? * * * I am Jack Ruby, I run the Ve^as Club. * * *" 937 
Ruby also introduced himself to Justice of the Peace David L. John- 
ston, shook his hand, gave Johnston a business card to the Carousel 
Club, and, upon learning J ohnston's official position, shook Jolinston's 
hand again.^^ After talking with Johnston, he gave another card to 
Icarus M. Pappas, a reporter for New York radio station WNEW.^^^ 
From a representative of radio station KB OX in Dallas, Ruby ob- 
tained the "hot line" telephone number to KLIF.^*° He then called 
the station and told one of the employees that he would like to come up 
to distribute the sandwiches and cold drinks he had purchased.^*^ Ob- 
serving Pappas holding a telephone line open and attempting to get 
the attention of District Attorney Wade, Ruby directed Wade to 
Pappas, who proceeded to interview the district attomey.^*^ Ruby 
then called KLIF a second time and offered to secure an interview with 
Wade; he next summoned Wade to his phone, whereupon KLIF re- 
corded a telephone interview with the district attorney A few 
minutes later. Ruby encountered Russ Knight, a reporter from KLIF 
who had left the station for the police department at the beginning of 
Ruby's second telephone call. Ruby directed Knight to Wade and 
waited a short distance away while the reporter conducted another 
interview with the district attorney.^** 


At radio station KLIF. — ^Wlien Ruby left police headquarters, he 
drove to radio station KLIF, arriving at approximately 1 :45 a.m. 
and remaining for about 45 minutes.®'^^ After first distributing liis 
sandwiches and soft drmks, Ruby settled in the newsroom for the 2 a.m. 
newscast in which he was credited with suggesting that Russ Knight 
ask District Attorney Wade whether or not Oswald was sane.^^ After 
the newscast, Ruby gave a Carousel card to one KLIF employee, 
although another did not recall that Ruby was promoting his club as he 
normally did.^*^ When speaking with KLIF's Danny Patrick Mc- 
Curdy, Ruby mentioned that he was going to close his clubs for the 
weekend and that he would rather lose $1,200 or $1,500 than remain 
open at that time in the N'ation's history. McCurdy remembered that 
Ruby "looked rather pale to me as he was talking to me and he kept 
looking at the floor." To announcer Glen Duncan, Ruby expressed 
satisfaction that the evidence was mounting against Oswald. Duncan 
said that Ruby did not appear to be grieving but, instead, seemed 
pleased about the personal contact he had had with the investigation 
earlier in the evening.^^^ 

Ruby left the radio station accompanied by Russ Knight. Engag- 
ing Knight in a short conversation, Ruby handed him a radio script 
entitled "Heroism" from a conservative radio program called "Life 
Line." It was apparently one of the scripts that had come into 
Ruby's hands a few weeks before at the Texas Products Show when 
Hunt Foods were including such scripts with samples of their prod- 
ucts.^^° The script extolled the virtues of those who embark upon 
risky business ventures and stand firmly for causes they believe to 
be correct.®^^ Ruby asked Knight's view^s on the script and sug- 
gested that there was a group of "radicals" in Dallas which hated 
President Kemiedy and that the owner of the radio station should 
editorialize against this group. Knight could not clearly determine 
whether Ruby had reference to persons who sponsored programs like 
"Life Line" or to those who held leftwing views.^^^ Knight gained 
the impression that Ruby believed such persons, whoever they might 
be, were partially responsible for the assassination.^^^ 

Early morning of November 23. — At about 2:30 a.m.. Ruby en- 
tered his automobile and departed for the Dallas Times-Herald Build- 
ing. En route, he stopped for about an hour to speak with Kay Helen 
Coleman, one of his dancers, and Harry Olsen, a member of the 
Dallas Police Department, who had hailed him from a parking 
garage at the comer of Jackson and Field Streets. The couple were 
crying and extremely upset over the assassination. At one point, 
according to Ruby, the police officer remarked that "they should cut 
this guy [Oswald] inch by inch into ribbons," and the dancer said 
that "in England they would drag him through the streets and would 
have hung him." Although Ruby failed to mention this episode 
during his first two FBI interviews,^^^ he later explained that his 
reason for failing to do so was that he did not "want to involve 
them in anything, because it was supposed to be a secret that he 
[the police officer] was going with this young lady." About 


6 weeks after the assassination, Olsen left the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment and married Miss Coleman. Both Olsen and his wife testified 
that they were greatly upset during their lengthy conversation with 
Kuby early Saturday morning; but Mrs. Olsen denied and Olsen 
did not recall the remarks ascribed to them.^^^ The Olsens claimed 
instead that Ruby had cursed Oswald.^^ Mrs. Olsen also mentioned 
that Ruby expressed sympathy for Mrs. Kennedy and her children.^^^ 
From Jackson and Field Streets, Ruby drove to the Dallas Times- 
Herald, where he talked for about 15 minutes with composing room 
employee Roy Pryor, who had just finished a shift at 4 a.m. 
Ruby mentioned that he had seen Oswald earlier in the night, that he 
had corrected Henry Wade in connection with the Fair Play for Cuba 
Committee, and that he had set up a telephone interview with Wade. 
Pryor testified that Ruby explicitly stated to him that he believed he 
was in good favor with the district attorney Recalling that Ruby 
described Oswald as a "little weasel of a guy" and was emotionally con- 
cerned about the President's wife and children, Pryor also was im- 
pressed by Ruby's sorrowful mood and remembered that, as he talked, 
Ruby shook a newspaper to emphasize his concern over the 
assassin ation.^^^ 

When Pryor left the composing room, Ruby remained and continued 
speaking with other employees, includmg Arthur Watherwax and the 
foreman, Clyde Gadash. Ruby, who often visited the Times-Herald 
at that early morning hour in connection with his ads, sought Wather- 
wax's views on his decision to close his clubs and indicated he was 
going to attempt to persuade other club owners to do likewise. 
Watherwax described Ruby as "pretty shaken up" about the assassi- 
nation and at the same time "excited" that he had attended Oswald's 
Friday night press conference.^^^ 

While at the Times- Herald, Ruby displayed to the composing room 
employees a "twistboard" he had previously promised to Gadash.®^^ 
The twistboard was an exercising device consisting of two pieces of 
hardened materials joined together by a lazy susan bearing so that 
one piece could remain stationary on the floor while a person stood 
atop it and swiveled to and fro.^^^ Ruby had been trying to promote 
sales of the board in the weeks before President Kennedy was killed.^^^ 
Considerable merriment developed when one of the women employees 
at the Times-Herald demonstrated the board, and Ruby him- 
self, put on a demonstration for those assembled.^^^ He later testi- 
fied : "* * * not that I wanted to get in with the hilarity of frolicking, 
but he [Gadash] asked me to show him, and the other men gathered 
around." Gadash agreed that Ruby's general mood was one of 

At about 4:30 a.m., Ruby drove from the Dallas Times-Herald 
to his apartment where he awakened his roommate George Sena- 
tor.^^® During his visit in the composing room Ruby had expressed 
the view that the Weissman advertisement was an effort to discredit 
the Jews.®^° Senator testified that when Ruby returned to the apart- 
ment, he began to discuss the Weissman advertisement and also a sign- 


board he had seen in Dallas urging that Chief Justice Earl Warren 
be impeached.^^^ Shortly thereafter, Ruby telephoned Larry Craf ard 
at the Carousel Club.^^ He told Crafard to meet him and Senator 
at the Nichols Garage adjacent to the Carousel Club and to bring a 
Polaroid camera kept in the club.^^^ After Crafard joined Ruby and 
Senator, the three men drove to the "Impeach Earl Warren" 
sign near Hall Avenue and Central Expressway in Dallas. There 
Ruby instructed Crafard to take three photographs of the billboard. 
Believing that the sign and the Weissman newspaper ad might some- 
how be connected. Ruby noted on the back of an envelope a name and 
post office box number that appeared on the sign.^^^ According to 
George Senator: 

* * * when he was looking at the sign and taking: pictures 
of it, and the newspaper ad, * * * this is where he really wanted 
to know the whys or why these things had to be out. He is trving 
to combine these two together, which I did hear him say, "This 
is the work of the John Birch Society or the Communist Party 
or maybe a combination of both." 

Pursuing a possible connection between the billboard and the news- 
paper advertisement. Ruby drove to the post office and asked a postal 
employee for the name of the man who had rented the box indicated on 
the billboard, but the employee said that he could not provide such 
information. Ruby inspected the box, however, and was upset to 
find it stuffed with mail.^^^ The three men then drove to a coffee- 
shop where Ruby continued to discuss the two advertisements. After 
about 30 minutes, they left the coffeeshop. Crafard was taken to 
the Carousel Club ; Ruby and Senator returned to their apartment,^^'' 
and Ruby retired at about 6 a.m.^'^^ 

The morning and afternoon of Noverriber 23. — At 8 or 8:30 a.m. 
Crafard, who had been asked to feed Ruby's dogs, telephoned Ruby 
at his apartment to inquire about food for the animals.^^^ Ruby 
forgot that he had told Crafard he did not plan to go to bed and repri- 
manded Crafard for waking him.®^° A few hours thereafter Crafard 
assembled his few belongings, took from the Carousel cash register $5 
of money due him from Ruby, left a receipt and thank-you note, and 
began hitchhiking to Michigan. Later that day, Andrew Armstrong 
found the note and telephoned Ruby.^^^ 

Ruby apparently did not return to bed following Crafard's call. 
During the morning hours, he watched a rabbi deliver on television 
a moving eulogy of President Kennedy .^^^ According to Ruby, the 
rabbi : 

went ahead and eulogized that here is a man that fought in every 
battle, went to every country, and had to come back to his own 
country to be shot in the back [starts crying] * * *. That cre- 
ated a tremendous emotional feeling for me, the way he said that. 
Prior to all the other times, I was carried away.®^ 


730-900 0-64— 24 

An employee from the Carousel Club who telephoned Kuby during 
the morning remembered that his "voice was shaking" when he spoke 
of the assassination.^^* 

Ruby has stated that, upon leaving his apartment some time between 
noon and 1 :30 p.m., he drove to Dealey Plaza where a police officer, 
who noted Ruby's solemnity, pointed out to him the window from 
which the rifleshots had been fired the day before.^^^ Ruby related 
that he inspected the wreaths that had been placed in memory of the 
President and became filled with emotion while speaking with the 
police officer.^^^ Ruby introduced himself to a reporter for radio 
station KRLD who was working inside a mobile news unit at the 
plaza ; the newsman mentioned to Ruby that he had heard of Ruby's 
help to KLIF in obtaining an interview with Henry Wade, and Ruby 
pointed out to the reporter that Capt. J. Will Fritz and Chief Curry 
were then in the vicinity. Thereafter, the newsman interviewed and 
photographed the officers.^^^ Ruby said that he next drove home and 
returned downtown to Sol's Turf Bar on Commerce Street.^^^ 

The evidence indicated, however, that sometime after leaving Dealey 
Plaza, Ruby went to the Nichols Parking Garage adjacent to the 
Carousel Club, where he was seen by Garnett C. Hallmark, general 
manager of the garage, and Tom Brown, an attendant. Brown 
believed that at about 1 :30 p.m. he heard Ruby mention Chief Curry's 
name in a telephone conversation from the garage. Brown also re- 
called that, before finally departing. Ruby asked him to inform 
acquaintances whom he expected to stop by the garage that the Carou- 
sel would be closed.^^^ Hallmark testified that Ruby drove into the 
garage at about 3 p.m., walked to the telephone, inquired whether 
or not a competing burlesque club would be closed that night, and 
told Hallmark that he (Ruby) was "acting like a reporter." 
Hallmark then heard Ruby address someone at the other end of the 
telephone as "Ken" and caught portions of a conversation concern- 
ing the transfer of Oswald.^^^ Hallmark said Ruby never called 
Oswald by name but used the pronoun "he" and remarked to the 
recipient ,of the call, "you know I'll be there." 

Ken Dowe, a KLIF announcer, to whom Ruby made at least 
two telephone calls within a short span of time Saturday afternoon, 
confirmed that he was probably the person to whom Hallmark and 
Brown overheard Ruby speaking. In one call to Dowe, Ruby asked 
whether the station knew when Oswald would be moved; and, in 
another, he stated he was going to attempt to locate Henry Wade.^^^ 
After Ruby finished his calls, he walked onto Commerce Street, passed 
the Carousel Club, and returned a few minutes later to get his car.^^* 

Ruby's comment that he was "acting like a reporter" and that he 
would be at the Oswald transfer suggests that Ruby may have spent 
part of Saturday afternoon shuttling back and forth from the Police 
and Courts Building to Dealey Plaza. Such activity would explain 
the fact that Tom Brown at the Nichols Garage believed he saw Ruby 
at 1 :30 p.m. while Garnett Hallmark placed Ruby at the garage at 
3 p.m. It would also explain Ken Dowe's receiving two phone calls 


from Ruby. The testimony of five news reporters supports the pos- 
sibility that Ruby was at the Police and Courts Building Saturday 
afternoon.^^^ One stated that Ruby provided sandwiches for newsmen 
on duty there Saturday afternoon, although no news representative 
has mentioned personally receiving such sandwiches.^®® Another testi- 
fied that he received a card to the Carousel Club from Ruby about 4 
p.m. that day at the police station.®^" A third believed he saw Ruby 
enter an office in which Henry Wade was working, but no one else 
reported a similar event.^®^ The remaining two witnesses mentioned 
no specific activities.®^® None of the persons who believed they saw 
Ruby at the police department on Saturday had known him pre- 
viously,- and no police officer has reported Ruby's presence on that 
day. Ruby has not mentioned such a visit. The Commission, there- 
fore, reached no firm conclusion as to whether or not Ruby visited 
the Dallas Police Department on Saturday. 

Shortly after 3 p.m. Ruby went to Sol's Turf Bar on Commerce 
Street where he remained for about 45 minutes. Ruby, a nondrinker, 
stated that he visited Sol's for the purpose of talking with his ac- 
countant, who customarily prepared the bar's payroll on Saturday 
afternoon. The accountant testified, however, that he saw Ruby only 
briefly and mentioned no business conversation with Ruby.^^*^° Ruby 
was first noticed at the Turf Bar by jeweler Frank Bellochio, who, 
after seeing Ruby, began to berate the people of Dallas for the assassi- 
nation.^^''^ Ruby disagreed and, when Bellochio said he might close 
his jewelry business and leave Dallas, Ruby attempted to calm him, 
saying that there were many good citizens in Dallas.^^^^ In response, 
Bellochio pointed to a copy of the Bernard Weissman advertise- 
ment.^°°^ To Bellochio's bewilderment. Ruby then said he believed that 
the advertisement was the work of a group attempting to create anti- 
Semitic feelings in Dallas and that he had learned from the Dallas 
Morning News that the ad had been paid for partly in cash.^*'^* Ruby 
thereupon produced one of the photographs he had taken Saturday 
morning of the "Impeach Earl Warren" sign and excitedly began to 
rail against the sign as if he agreed with Bellochio's original criticism 
of Dallas.^^*^^ He "seemed to be taking two sides — he wasn't co- 
herent," Bellochio testified.^^^ When Bellochio saw Ruby's pho- 
tographs, which Bellochio thought supported his argument against 
Dallas, he walked to the front of the bar and showed them to Tom 
Apple, with whom he had been previously arguing. In Apple's 
presence, Bellochio asked Ruby for one of the pictures but Ruby 
refused, mentioning that he regarded the pictures as a scoop.^°^^ 
Bellochio testified : "I spoke to Tom and said a few more words to 
Tom, and Ruby was gone — never said 'Goodbye' or 'I'll be seeing 

y-Q^^J » 1008 

Ruby may have left in order to telephone Stanley Kaufman, a 
friend and attorney who had represented him in civil matters.^^^® 
Kaufman testified that, at approximately 4 p.m.. Ruby called him 
about the Bernard Weissman advertisement. According to Kaufman, 
"Jack was particularly impressed with the [black] border as being a 


tipoff of some sort — that this man knew the President was going to 
be assassinated * * *." Ruby told Kaufman that he had tried to 
locate Weissman by going to the post office and said that he was at- 
tempting to be helpful to law enforcement authorities.^^^^ 

Considerable confusion exists as to the place from which Ruby placed 
the call to Kaufman and as to his activities after leaving Sol's Turf 
Bar. Eva Grant stated that the call was made from her apartment 
about 4 p.m.^^^2 Ruby, however, believed it was made from the Turf 
Bar. He stated that from the Turf Bar he went to the Carousel and 
then home and has not provided additional details on his activities 
during the hours from about 4 to 9 :30 p.m.^°^^ Robert Larkin saw him 
downtown at about 6 p.m.^°^^ and Andrew Armstrong testified that 
Ruby visited the Carousel Club between 6 and 7 p.m. and remained 
about an hour.^°^^ 

At Eva Granfs apartment Saturday evening. — Eva Grant believed 
that, for most of the period from 4 until 8 p.m., Ruby was at her apart- 
ment. Mrs. Grant testified that her brother was still disturbed about 
the Weissman advertisement when he arrived, showed her the 
photograph of the Warren sign, and recounted his argument with 
Bellochio about the city of Dallas. Still curious as to whether or not 
Weissman was Jewish, Mrs. Grant asked her brother whether he had 
been able to find the name Bernard Weissman in the Dallas city 
directory, and Ruby said he had not. Their doubts about Weissman's 
existence having been confirmed, both began to speculate that the 
Weissman ad and the Warren sign were the work of either "Commies 
or the Birchers," and were designed to discredit the Jews.^°^^ Appar- 
ently in the midst of that conversation Ruby telephoned Russ Knight 
at KLIF and, according to Knight, asked who Earl Warren was.^^^' 

Mrs. Grant has testified that Ruby eventually retired to her bedroom 
where he made telephone calls and slept.^^^® About 8 :30 p.m., Ruby 
telephoned to Thomas J. O'Grady, a friend and former Dallas police 
officer who had once worked for Ruby as a boimcer. To O'Grady, 
Ruby mentioned closing the Carousel Club, criticized his competitors 
for remaining open, and complained about the "Impeach Earl War- 
ren" sign.^^^^ 

Saturday evening at Ruhy'^s apartment. — By 9 :30 p.m.. Ruby had 
apparently returned to his apartment where he received a telephone 
call from one of his striptease dancers, Karen Bennett Carlin, who, 
together with her husband, had been driven from Fort Worth to Dallas 
that evening by another dancer, Nancy Powell.^^^^ All three had 
stopped at the Colony Club, a burlesque nightclub which competed 
with the Carousel.^'^2^ Mrs. Carlin testified that, in need of money, she 
telephoned Ruby, asked whether the Carousel would be open that 
night, and requested part of her salary .^^2- According to Mrs. Carlin, 
Ruby became angry at the suggestion that the Carousel Club might be 
open for business but told her he would come to the Carousel in about 
an hour.^^2^ 

Thereafter, in a depressed mood. Ruby telephoned his sister Eva 
Grant, who suggested he visit a friend.^°2* Possibly in response to 


that suggestion, Kuby called LaAvrence Meyers, a friend from Chi- 
cago with whom he had visited two nights previously .^^^^ Meyers 
testified that, during their telephone conversation, Ruby asked him 
what he thought of this "terrible thing." Ruby then began to criticize 
his competitors, Abe and Barney Weinstein, for failing to close their 
clubs on Saturday night. In the course of his conversation about the 
Weinsteins and the assassination, Ruby said "I've got to do something 
about this." ^^^^ Meyers initially understood that remark to refer to 
the Weinsteins. Upon reflection after Oswald was shot, Meyers was 
uncertain whether Ruby was referring to his competitors, or to the 
assassination of President Kennedy; for Ruby had also spoken at 
length about Mrs. Kennedy and had repeated "those poor people, 
those poor people." ^^^^ At the conclusion of their conversation, 
Meyers declined Ruby's invitation to join him for a cup of coffee but 
invited Ruby to join him at the motel. When Ruby also declined, the 
two agreed to meet for dinner the following evening.^^^s 

Meanwhile, Karen Carlin and her husband grew anxious over 
Ruby's failure to appear with the money they had requested.^^^^ 
After a substantial wait, they returned together to the Mchols Garage 
where Mr. Carlin telephoned to Ruby.^°^° Carlin testified that he 
told Ruby they needed money in order to return to Fort Worth 
although Nancy Powell testified that she drove the Carlins home that 
evening.^°^2 Agreeing to advance a small sum, Ruby asked to speak 
to Mrs. Carlin, who claimed that Ruby told her that if she needed 
more money she should call him on Sunday. Thereafter, at Ruby's 
request, garage attendant Huey Reeves gave Mrs. Carlin $5, and she 
signed with her stage name "Little Lynn" a receipt which Reeves time- 
stamped 10:33 p.m., November 23.^°^* (See Commission Exhibit No. 
1476, p. 351.) 

Inconsistent testimony was developed regarding Ruby's activities 
during the next 45 minutes. Eva Grant testified that she did not see 
her brother on Saturday night after 8 p.m. and has denied calling 
Ralph Paul herself that night.^°^ Nonetheless, telephone company 
records revealed that at 10 :44 p.m. a call was made to Ralph Paul's 
Bull Pen Drive-In in Arlington, Tex., from Mrs. Grant's apartment.^^^^ 
It was the only call to Paul from her apartment on Friday or Satur- 
day ; she recalled her brother making such a call that weekend ; 
and Ralph Paul has testified that Ruby telephoned him Saturday 
night from Eva Grant's apartment and said he and his sister were 
there crying.^^^^ 

Nineteen-year-old Wanda Helmick, a former waitress at the Bull 
Pen Drive-In, first reported in June, 1964 that some time during the 
evening she saw the cashier answer the Bull Pen's pay telephone and 
heard her call out to Paul, "It is for you. It is Jack." Mrs. Hel- 
mick claimed she overheard Paul, speaking on the telephone, mention 
something about a gun which, she understood from Paul's conversa- 
tion, the caller had in his possession. She said she also heard Paul 
exclaim "Are you crazy?" ^^^^ She provided no other details of the 
conversation. Mrs. Helmick claimed that on Sunday, November 24, 


after Oswald had been shot, she heard Paul repeat the substance of the 
call to other employees as she had related it and that Paul said Ruby 
was the caller.^^^^ Ralph Paul denied the allegations of Mrs. 
Helmick.^^*^ Both Paul and Mrs. Helmick agreed that Paul went 
home soon after the call, apparently about 11 p.m.^°** 

Shortly after 11 p.m.. Ruby arrived at the Nichols Garage where he 
repaid Huey Reeves and obtained the receipt Mrs. Carlin had 
signed. ^^^^ Outside the Carousel, Ruby exchanged greetings with 
Police Officer Harry Olsen and Kay Coleman, whom he had seen late 
the previous night."*^ Going upstairs to the club. Ruby made a 
series of five brief long-distance phone calls, the first being to the 
Bull Pen Drive-In at 11 :18 p.m. and lasting only 1 minute.^^*'' Ap- 
parently unable to reach Paul there. Ruby telephoned Paul's home in 
Arlington, Tex., for 3 minutes.^*'^ A third call was placed at 11 :36 
p.m. for 2 minutes, again to Paul's home."^^ At 11 :44 p.m. Ruby 
telephoned Breck Wall, a friend and entertainer who had gone to 
Galveston, Tex., when his show in Dallas suspended its performance 
out of respect to President Kennedy. The call lasted 2 minutes.^°^^ 
Thereafter, Ruby immediately placed a 1 -minute phone call to Paul's 

Although Ruby has mentioned those calls, he has not provided 
details to the Commission ; however, he has denied ever indicating to 
Paul or Wall that he was going to shoot Oswald and has said he did not 
consider such action until Sunday morning.^^^^ Ralph Paul did not 
mention the late evening calls in his interview with FBI agents on 
November 24, 1963.^°^ Later Paul testified that Ruby called him from 
downtown to say that nobody was doing any business.^^^^ Breck Wall 
testified that Ruby called him to determine whether or not the Ameri- 
can Guild of Variety Artists (AGYA), which represented striptease 
dancers in Dallas, had met concerning a dispute Ruby was having 
with the union. ^^^^ Ruby's major difference with AGYA during the 
preceding 2 weeks had involved what Ruby considered to be AGVA's 
failure to enforce against his 2 competitors, Abe and Barney Wein- 
stein, AGVA's ban on "striptease contests" and performances by 
"amateurs." As recently as Wednesday, November 20, Ruby had 
telephoned an AGYA representative in Chicago about that complaint 
and earlier in November he had unsuccessfully sought to obtain assist- 
ance from a San Francisco gambler and a Chicagoan reputed for his 
heavyhanded union activities.^^^^ Wall testified that Ruby "was very 
upset the President was assassinated and he called Abe Weinstein or 
Bernie Weinstein * * * some names for staying open * * * ." Wall 
added, "he was very upset * * * that they did not have the decency 
to close on such a day and he thought out of respect they should 

Ruby''s activities after midnight. — After completing the series of 
calls to Paul and Wall at 11 :48 p.m.. Ruby went to the Pago Club, 
about a 10-minute drive from the Carousel Club.^°^^ He took a table 
near the middle of the club and, after ordering a Coke, asked the wait- 
ress in a disapproving tone, "Why are you open?" When Robert 


% m §m/b IaZ ¥0&mA * 


24, 1963. STAMPED 11:17 A.M. (DOYLE 

(liupiicate of orig'i;^]." 


—————— oo Hat wolii Aiiovi '■f-^t 

VKi AMOU^•T: . 

J., »>o 5- ^1 



»oney order receipt given 

Jack Ruby) 







Norton, the club's manager, joined Ruby a few minutes later he ex- 
pressed to Ruby his concern as to whether or not it was proper to 
operate the Pago Club that evening. Ruby indicated that the Carou- 
sel was closed but did not criticize Norton for remaining open.^^^^ 
Norton raised the topic of President Kennedy's death and said, "[W]e 
couldn't do enough to the person that [did] this sort of thing." 
Norton added, however, that "Nobody has the right to take the life 
of another one." Ruby expressed no strong opinion, and closed the 
conversation by saying he was going home because he was tired.^°^^ 
Later, Ruby told the Commission: "he knew something was wrong 
with me in the certain mood I was in." 

Ruby testified that he went home after speaking with Norton and 
went to bed about 1 :30 a.m.^^^^ By that time, George Senator claimed, 
he had retired for the night and did not remember Ruby's return.^^®^ 
Eva Grant testified that her brother telephoned her at about 12:45 
a.m. to learn how she was f eeling.^^^'' 

Sunday morning. — Ruby's activities on Sunday morning are the 
subject of conflicting testimony. George Senator believed that Ruby 
did not rise until 9 or 9 :30 a.m. ; both Ruby and Senator main- 
tained that Ruby did not leave their apartment until shortly before 
11 :00 a.m., and two other witnesses have provided testimony which 
supports that account of Ruby's whereabouts.^^^^ On the other hand, 
three WB AP-TV television technicians — ^TVarren Richey, J ohn Smith, 
and Ira Walker — believed they saw Ruby near the Police and Courts 
Building at various times between 8 a.m. and 11 a.m.^^^^ But there are 
substantial reasons to doubt the accuracy of their identifications. 
None had ever seen Ruby on a prior occasion. None looked for an 
extended period at the man believed to be Ruby,^^^^ and all were 
occupied with their duties and had no reason to remember the man's 
appearance until they saw Ruby's picture on television.^^"^ 

Smith, for one, was not entirely positive about his identification of 
Ruby as the man he saw ; ^^^^ and Richey was looking down from atop 
a TV mobile unit when he observed on the sidewalk the man he be- 
lieved was Ruby.^°^^ In addition, Richey and Smith provided descrip- 
tions of Ruby which differ substantially from information about Ruby 
gathered from other sources. Smith described the man he saw as being 
an "unkempt person that possibly could have slept with his clothes 
on * * 1075 Ruby was characteristically clean and well groomed.^^"^ 
In fact. Senator testified that Ruby shaved and dressed before leaving 
their apartment that morning, and at the time Ruby shot Oswald he 
was dressed in a hat and business suit.^*^"^^ Richey described Ruby as 
wearing a grayish overcoat,^^^^ while investigation indicated that 
Ruby did not own an overcoat and was not wearing one at the time of 
the shooting.^°^^ (See Pappas Deposition Exhibit No. 1, p. 356.) Al- 
though Walker's identification of Ruby is the most positive, his cer- 
tainty must be contrasted with the indefinite identification made by 
Smith, who had seen the man on one additional occasion.^^^^ Both 
Smith and Walker saw a man resembling Ruby when the man, on two 
occasions, looked through the window of their mobile news unit and 


once asked whether Oswald had been transferred. Both saw only 
the man's head, and Smith was closer to the window ; yet Smith would 
not state positively that the man was Kuby.^^^^ Finally, video tapes 
of scenes on Sunday morning near the NBC van show a man close 
to the Commerce Street entrance who might have been mistaken for 

George Senator said that when he arose, before 9 a.m., he began 
to do his laundry in the basement of the apartment building while 
Ruby slept.^^^ During Senator's absence. Ruby received a telephone 
call from his cleaning lady, Mrs. Elnora Pitts, who testified that she 
called sometime between 8 :30 and 9 a.m. to learn whether Ruby wanted 
her to clean his apartment that day.^^^ Mrs. Pitts remembered that 
Ruby "sounded terrible strange to me." She said that "there was some- 
thing wrong with him the way he was talking to me." Mrs. Pitts 
explained that, although she had regularly been cleaning Ruby's 
apartment on Sundays, Ruby seemed not to comprehend who she was or 
the reason for her call and required her to repeat herself several 
times.^^^^ As Senator returned to the apartment after the call, he was 
apparently mistaken for Ruby by a neighbor, Sidney Evans, Jr. 
Evans had never seen Ruby before but recalled observing a man re- 
sembling Ruby, clad in trousers and T-shirt, walk upstairs from the 
"washateria" in the basement of their building and enter Ruby's suite 
with a load of laundry. Later in the morning, Malcolm Slaughter who 
shared an apartment with Evans, saw an individual, similarly clad, on 
the same floor as Ruby's apartment.^^^^ Senator stated that it was not 
Ruby's custom to do his own washing and that Ruby did not do so that 

While Senator was in the apartment. Ruby watched television, made 
himself coffee and scrambled eggs, and received, at 10 :19 a.m., a tele- 
phone call from his entertainer, Karen Carlin.^*^^^ Mrs. Carlin testi- 
fied that in her telephone conversation she asked Ruby for $25 inas- 
much as her rent was delinquent and she needed groceries.^^^° She 
said that Ruby, who seemed upset, mentioned that he was going down- 
town anyway and that he would send the money from the Western 
Union office.^^^^ According to George Senator, Ruby then probably 
took a half hour or more to bathe and dress.^^^^ 

Supporting the accounts given by Mrs. Carlin and Mrs. Pitts of 
Ruby's emotional state. Senator testified that during the morning 

* * * was even mumbling, which I didn't understand. And right 
after breakfast he got dressed. Then after he got dressed he was 
pacing the floor from the living room to the bedroom, from the 
bedroom to the living room, and his lips were going. What he 
was jabbering I don't know. But he was really pacing.^°^^ 

Ruby has described to the Commission his own emotions of Sunday 
morning as follows : 


* * * Sunday morning ***[!] saw a letter to Caroline, two 
columns about a 16-inch area. Someone had written a letter to 
Caroline. The most heartbreaking letter. I don't remember the 
contents. * * * alongside that letter on the same sheet of pa- 
per was a small comment in the newspaper that, I don't know how 
it was stated, that Mrs. Kennedy may have to come back for the 
trial of Lee Harvey Oswald. * * * 

I don't know Avhat bug got ahold of me. I don't know what it 
is, but I am going to tell the truth word for word. 

I am taking a pill called Preludin. It is a harmless pill, and it 
is very easy to get in the drugstore. It isn't a highly prescribed 
pill. I use it for dieting. 

I don't partake of that much food. I think that was a stimulus 
to give me an emotional feeling that suddenly I felt, which was 
so stupid, that I wanted to show my love for our faith, being of 
the J ewish faith, and I never used the term and I don't want to 
go into that — suddenly the feeling, the emotional feeling came 
within me that someone owed this debt to our beloved President 
to save her the ordeal of coming back. I don't know why that 
came through my mind.^°^* 

(See Commission Exhibit No. 2426, p. 355.) 

Sunday morning trip to police department. — Leaving his apart- 
ment a few minutes before 11 a.m.. Ruby went to his automobile taking 
with him his dachshund, Sheba, and a portable radio.^'^®' He 
placed in his pocket a revolver which he routinely carried in a bank 
moneybag in the trunk of his car.^°^^ Listening to the radio, he drove 
downtown, according to his own testimony, by a route that took him 
past Dealey Plaza where he observed the scattered wreaths. Ruby 
related that he noted the crowd that had gathered outside the county 
jail and assumed that Oswald had already been transferred. How- 
ever, when he passed the Main Street side of the Police and Courts 
Building, which is situated on the same block as the Western Union 
office, he also noted the crowd that was gathered outside that build- 
jj^g 1097 ;N'ormal driving time for the trip from his apartment would 
have been about 15 minutes, but Ruby's possible haste and the slow 
movement of traffic through Dealey Plaza make a reliable estimate 

Ruby parked his car in a lot directly across the street from the 
Western Union office. He apparently placed his keys and billfold in 
the trunk of the car, then locked the trunk, which contained approxi- 
mately $1,000 in cash, and placed the trunk key in the glove compart- 
ment of the car. He did not lock the car doors.^^^^ 

With his revolver, more than $2,000 in cash, and no personal identi- 
fication. Ruby walked from the parking lot across the street to the 
Western Union office where he filled out forms for sending $25 by 
telegraph to Karen Carlin.^^°° After waiting in line while one other 
Western Union customer completed her business,^^^^ Ruby paid for 
the telegram and retained as a receipt one of three time-stamped docu- 









ments which show that the transaction was completed at almost ex- 
actly 11 :17 a.m., c.s.t.^^^ (See Commission Exhibits Nos. 1476, 2420, 
2421; D. Lane Deposition Exhibits Nos. 5118, 5119, p. 351.) The 
Western Union clerk who accepted Ruby's order recalls that Ruby 
promptly turned, walked out of the door onto Main Street, and pro- 
ceeded in the direction of the police department one block away.^^^^ 
The evidence set forth in chapter V indicates that Ruby entered the 
police basement through the auto ramp from Main Street and stood 
behind the front rank of newsmen and police officers who were crowded 
together at the base of the ramp awaiting the transfer of Oswald to the 
county jail.^^°* As Oswald emerged from a basement office at approx- 
imately 11 :21 a.m.. Ruby moved quickly forward and, without speak- 
ing,"^^ fired one fatal shot into Oswald's abdomen before being sub- 
dued by a rush of police officers.^^^^ 

Evaluation of activities. — Examination of Ruby's activities immedi- 
ately preceding and following the death of President Kennedy revealed 
no sign of any conduct which suggests that he was involved in the 
assassination. Prior to the tragedy. Ruby's activities were routine. 
Though persons who saw him between November 22 and 24 disagree 
as to whether or not he appeared more upset than others around him, 
his response to the assassination appears to have been one of genuine 
shock and grief. His indications of concern over the possible effects of 
the assassination upon his businesses seem consistent with other evi- 
dence of his character.^^^^ During the course of the weekend, Ruby 
seems to have become obsessed with the possibility that the Impeach 
Earl Warren sign and the Bernard Weissman ad were somehow con- 
nected and related to the assassination. However, Ruby's interest in 
these public notices was openly expressed and, as discussed below, the 
evidence reveals no connection between him and any political orga- 

Examination of Larry Crafard's sudden departure from Dallas 
shortly before noon on November 23 does not suggest that Ruby was 
involved in a conspiracy. To be sure, Graf ard started hitchhiking to 
Michigan, where members of his family lived, with only $7 in his 
pocket.^^°* He made no attempt to communicate with law enforce- 
ment officials after Oswald's death ; and a relative in Michigan 
recalled that Graf ard spoke very little of his association with Ruby.^^^^ 
When finally located by the FBI 6 days later, he stated that he left 
Ruby's employ because he did not wish to be subjected to further verbal 
abuse by Ruby and that he went north to see his sister, from whom he 
had not heard in some time.^^^^ 

An investigation of Graf ard's unusual behavior confirms that his de- 
parture from Dallas was innocent. After Oswald was shot, FBI 
agents obtained from the Garousel Glub an unmailed letter drafted by 
Graf ard to a relative in Michigan at least a week before the assassina- 
tion.^^^2 The letter revealed that he was considering leaving Dallas at 
that time.^^^^ On November 17, Graf ard, who had been receiving only 
room, board, and incidental expenses, told Ruby he wanted to stop 
working for him; however, Graf ard agreed to remain when Ruby 


promised a salary Then on the morning of November 23, Ruby 
and Craf ard had a minor altercation over the telephone.^^^^ Although 
Craf ard did not voluntarily make known to the authorities his associ- 
ations with Ruby, he spoke freely and with verifiable accuracy when 
questioned. The automobile driver who provided Crafard his first 
ride from Dallas has been located; his statement generally conforms 
with Craf ard's story ; and he did not recall any unusual or troubled be- 
havior by Crafard during that ride/^^^ 

Although Crafard's peremptory decision to leave Dallas might be 
unusual for most persons, such behavior does not appear to have been 
uncommon for him. His family residence had shifted frequently 
among California, Michigan, and Oregon.^^^^ During his 22 years, he 
had earned his livelihood picking crops, working in carnivals, and 
taking other odd jobs throughout the country. ^^^^ x\ocording to his 
testimony, he had previously hitchhiked across the country with his 
then wife and two infant children.^^^^ Against such a background, it 
is most probable that the factors motivating Craf ard's departure from 
Dallas on November 23 were dissatisfaction with his existence in 
Ruby's employ, which he had never considered more than temporary. 
Ruby's decision to close his clubs for 3 days, the argument on Saturday 
morning, and his own desire to see his relatives in Michigan. There is 
no evidence to suggest any connection between Craf ard's departure and 
the assassination of the President or the shooting of Oswald. 

The allegations of Wanda Helmick raised speculation that Ruby's 
Saturday night phone calls to Ralph Paul and Breck Wall might have 
concerned the shooting of Oswald, but investigation has found nothing 
to indicate that the calls had conspiratorial implications. Paul was 
a close friend, business associate, and adviser to Jack Ruby. Ruby 
normally kept in close telephone contact with Paul, who had a sub- 
stantial sum of money committed to the Carousel Club.^^^^ Paul ex- 
plained that Ruby called him Saturday evening once to point out his 
ads, another time to say that nobody seemed to be doing any business in 
downtown Dallas, and a third time to relate that both he and his sister 
were crying over the assassination.^^^^ Between two of those phone 
calls to Paul, Ruby telephoned to Galveston, Tex., to speak with Wall, 
a friend and former business associate who was an official of the Amer- 
ican Guild of Variety Artists. Wall related that during that call 
Ruby criticized the Weinsteins for failing to close their clubs. 

Having earlier made the same complaint to Lawrence Meyers to 
whom he mentioned a need "to do something about this" it would have 
been characteristic for Ruby to want to direct Breck Wall's attention, 
as an AGVA official, to what he regarded as the Weinsteins' improper 
conduct. The view that the calls to Wall and Paul could have had 
conspiratorial implications also is belied in large measure by the con- 
duct of both men before and after the events of November 22-24. A 
check of long-distance telephone records reveals no suspicious activity 
by either man.^^^^ Paul, in fact, is not known to have visited Dallas 
during the weekend of the assassination except to appear openly in 
an effort to arrange counsel for Ruby within a few hours of the at- 


tack on Oswald. Neither the FBI nor the CIA has been able to pro- 
vide any information that Ralph Paul or Breck Wall ever engaged 
in any form of subversive activity .^^^^ 

Moreover, Mrs. Helmick's reliability is undermined by her failure 
to report her information to any investigative official until June 9, 
1964.^^2* Although a sister-in-law confirms that Mrs. Helmick wrote 
her "something about a gun" shortly after the shooting/^^^ the only 
mention of any statement by Paul which was included in a letter writ- 
ten by Mrs. Helmick after the Ruby trial was that Paul believed Ruby 
was "not in his right mind." ^^^^ No corroborating witness named by 
Mrs. Helmick has been found who remembers the conversations she 
mentioned.^^2^ Both Ruby and Paul have denied that anything was 
said, as Mrs. Helmick suggests, about a gun or an intent to shoot 
Oswald, and Wall has stated that Ruby did not discuss such matters 
with him.^^2^ Even if Mrs. Helmick is accurate the statements 
ascribed to Paul indicate only that he may have heard of a possible 
reference by Ruby to shooting Oswald. According to her, Paul's 
response was to exclaim "Are you crazy?" But under no circum- 
stances does the report of Mrs. Helmick or any other fact support a 
belief that Paul or Wall was involved in the shooting of Oswald. 

The Commission has conducted an investigation of the telephone 
call Ruby received from Karen Carlin at 10 :19 Sunday morning to 
determine whether that call was prearranged for the purpose of con- 
veying information about the transfer of Oswald or to provide Ruby 
an excuse for being near the police department. The Commission has 
examined the records of long-distance telephone calls on Sunday morn- 
ing for Jack Ruby,^^29 ^j^^ Carlins,^^^^ the Dallas police,^^^^ and sev- 
eral other persons ^^^^ and has found no sign of any indirect communi- 
cation to Ruby through Mr. or Mrs. Carlin. No other evidence show- 
ing any link between the Carlins and the shooting of Oswald has 
been developed. 

Ruby and Oswald Were Not Acquainted 

The possibility of a prior acquaintanceship between Ruby and 
Oswald has been suggested by some persons who viewed the shooting 
on television and believed that a look of recognition appeared on 
Oswald's face as Ruby moved toward him in the jail basement. The 
Commission has examined the television tapes and movie films which 
were made as Oswald moved through the basement and has observed 
no facial expressions which can be interpreted as signifying recog- 
nition of Ruby by Oswald. It is doubtful even that Oswald could have 
seen Ruby sufficiently clearly to discern his identity since Oswald was 
walking from a dark corridor into "the flash from the many cameras" 
and the lights of TV cameramen which were "blinding." ad- 
dition to such generalized suspicion, there have been numerous specific 
allegations that Oswald was seen in the company of Ruby prior to 
November 22, often at Ruby's Carousel Club. All such allegations 
have been investigated, but the Commission has found none which 


merits credence. In all but a few instances where the Commission was 
able to trace the claim to its source, the person responsible for the report 
either denied making it or admitted that he had no basis for the orig- 
inal allegations."^* Frequently those responsible for the allegations 
have proved to be persons of erratic memory or dubious mental stabil- 
1135 jj^ ^ instances, the source of the story has remained un- 
identified, and no person has come forward to substantiate the 

The testimony of a few witnesses who claim to have seen Ruby with 
a person who they feel may have been Oswald warrants further 
comment. One such witness, Eobert K. Patterson, a Dallas electronics 
salesman, has stated that on a date established from sales records 
as November 1, 1963, Ruby, accompanied by a man who resembled 
Oswald, purchased some equipment at his business establishment.^^^^ 
However, Patterson did not claim positively that the man he saw was 
Oswald,^^^^ and two of his associates who were also present at the 
time could not state that the man was Oswald.^"^ Other evidence in- 
dicates that Ruby's companion was Larry Crafard. Crafard, whp 
lived at the Carousel Club while working for Ruby from mid-October 
until November 23, 1963, stated that sometime in late October or early 
November he accompanied Ruby to an electronics store in connection 
with the purchase of electronics equipment.^^*^ Ruth Paine testified 
that Crafard 's photograph bears a strong resemblance to Oswald; 
and employment records of the Texas School Book Depository show 
that Oswald worked a full day on November 1, 1963.^^*^ 

"William D. Crowe, Jr., a young nightclub master of ceremonies who 
had worked for Ruby on three occasions and had begun a 4- or 5-week 
engagement at the Carousel Club on November 11, 1963, was the first 
person who reported a possible association between Ruby and 
Oswald."*^ While attempting to enter the Carousel Club on Novem- 
ber 24, shortly after Oswald was shot, Crowe encountered two news 
media representatives who were gathering information on Jack 
Ruby."*^ At that time, Crowe, who included a memory act in his 
repertoire,^^** mentioned the "possibility" that he had seen Oswald at 
the Carousel Club.^^*^ As a result he was asked to appear on television. 
In Crowe's own words, the story "started snowballing." He testified : 

They built up the memory thing and they built up the bit of 
having seen Oswald there, and I never stated definitely, posi- 
tively, and they said that I did, and all in all, what they had in 
the paper was hardly even close to what I told them.^"® 

Crowe added that his memory act involved a limited system which 
did not, in fact, improve his memory and that his memory might not 
even be as good as that of the average person. When asked how cer- 
tain he was that the man he saw was Oswald, Crowe testified: 
"* * * the face seemed familiar as some faces do, and I had associated 
him with a patron that I had seen in the club a week before. That 
was about it." 


A possible explanation for Crowe's belief that Oswald's face seemed 
familiar was supplied by a freelance photographer, Eddie Rocco, who 
had taken pictures at the Carousel Club for Ruby at about the time 
Crowe was employed there. Rocco produced one of those photo- 
graphs which depicted a man who might have been mistaken for 
Oswald by persons having no reason to remember the man at the time 
they saw him.^^*® When shown the Rocco photograph, Crowe said 
that there was as strong a possibility that the man he recalled seeing 
was the man in the photograph as there was that he was Oswald.^^^^ 
Crowe's imcertainty was further underscored by his failure initially 
to provide his information about Oswald to David Hoy, a news- 
media friend whom Crowe telephoned in Evansville, Ind., less 
than 20 minutes after Oswald was shot.^^^^ By then the possible 
recognition had occurred to Crowe,^^^^ and Hoy said he was quite 
surprised that Crowe had given the information first to other news 
representatives instead of telling him in that early conversation.^^^^ 

After Crowe's identification had been publicized, four other per- 
sons also reported seeing Oswald at the Carousel Club. One man said 
he saw Ruby and Oswald seated at a table together and recalled that 
the man resembling Oswald was addressed by a blond-haired waitress 
as "Bettit" or "Pettit." The witness was unable to give any de- 
scription of "Pettit" except that he was the man who had been shot 
by Ruby. He could not describe the inside of the Carousel and was 
unable to give a precise location for the club.^^^^ Another witness, 
a resident of Tennessee, related seeing a man resembling Oswald at 
the Carousel Club on November 10.^^^* Ruth Paine has testified, how- 
ever, that Oswald spent the entire holiday weekend of November 9, 
10, and 11 at her home in Irving, Tex.^^^^ Two of Ruby's former em- 
ployees, Karen Carlin and Billy Joe Willis, also believed they had 
seen a person who resembled Oswald. Willis believed he saw the man 
at the Carousel Club but did not think the man was Oswald.^^^^ 
Mrs. Carlin likewise was not certain that the man was Oswald nor 
was she sure where she had seen him.^^^^ Neither reported any con- 
nection between the man and Ruby. No other employees recalled 
seeing Oswald or a person resembling him at the Carousel Club."^^ 

Wilbryn Waldon (Robert) Litchfield II also claimed to have seen 
at the Carousel Club a man resembling Oswald. Litchfield stated 
that during a visit to the Carousel Club in late October or early 
November 1963, he saw such a man enter Ruby's office, apparently to 
confer with Ruby.^^^^ Although there is substantial evidence that 
Litchfield did see Ruby at the Carousel Club about that time,^^^*^ there 
is strong reason to believe that Litchfield did not see Lee Harvey 
Oswald. Litchfield described the man he saw as having pockmarks 
on the right side of his chin ; Oswald did not have such identifying 
marks.^^^2 Moreover, the Commission has substantial doubts concern- 
ing Litchfield's credibility. Although present at an FBI interview of 
another witness on November 29, Litchfield made no mention of his 
observation to public officials until December 2, 1963. Litchfield, 
who had twice been convicted for offenses involving forged 


730-900 0-64— 25 

checks,^^^* testified that he first recalled that Oswald resembled the 
visitor he saw at the Carousel Club while watching a television 
showing on Sunday morning, November 24, of the shooting by 
Ruby.^^^^ At that time Litchfield was playing poker with three 
friends, and he testified that he promptly informed them of the re- 
semblance he observed.^^^^ However, none of the three poker com- 
panions remembered Litchfield's making such a remark; and two 
added that Litchfield's statements were often untrustworthy .^^^'^ 

With regard to all of the persons who claimed to have seen Ruby and 
Oswald together, it is significant that none had particular reason to 
pay close attention to either man, that substantial periods of time 
elapsed before the events they assertedly witnessed became meaningful, 
and that, unlike the eyewitnesses who claimed to have seen Oswald 
on November 22, none reported their observations soon after Oswald 
was arrested. In the course of its investigation, the Commission has 
encountered numerous clear mistakes of identification. For example, 
at least four persons, other than Crafard, are known to have been 
mistaken for Oswald."^^ Other persons have been misidentified as 
J ack Ruby.^^^^ Under all the available evidence there is no substantial 
likelihood that the person the various witnesses claimed to have seen 
with Ruby was in fact Oswald. 

In addition to probing the reported evidence that Ruby and Oswald 
had been seen together, the Commission has examined other circum- 
stances for signs that the two men were acquainted. From the time 
Oswald returned from Mexico, both he and Jack Ruby lived in the 
Oak Cliff section of Dallas, slightly more than a mile apart. Numer- 
ous neighbors of both Oswald and Ruby were interviewed, and none 
knew of any association between the two.^^^° Oswald's work began 
at 8 each weekday morning and terminated at 4 :45 each afternoon.^^'^^ 
Jack Ruby usually remained in his apartment until past 9 a.m. each 
day.^^^2 Although both men worked in downtown Dallas, they nor- 
mally traveled to their places of employment by ' different routes. 
Ruby owned an automobile, and the shortest route downtown from his 
home was via a freeway adjacent to his apartment.^^^^ Oswald did not 
own a car and had, at best, a rudimentary ability to drive.^^^^ From 
his roominghouses on North Beckley Avenue and on Marsalis Street, he 
normally took public transportation which did not bring him within 
six blocks of either Ruby's apartment or his downtown nightclub, nor 
did Oswald's route from the bus stop to home or work bring him near 
Ruby's home or business.^^^^ Persons at Oswald's roominghouse testi- 
fied that he regularly came home promptly after work and remained in 
his room.^^^® '\'\niile in Dallas, he is not known to have visited any 
nightclub.^^^"^ Ruby was generally at the Carousel Club from 9 
o'clock each evening until after 1 a.m.^^'^ In a few instances. Ruby 
and Oswald patronized the same stores, but no indication has been 
found that they ever met at such stores.^^^^ Ruby at one time fre- 
quented a restaurant where Oswald occasionally ate breakfast, but 
the times of their patronage were widely separated and restaurant 
employees knew of no acquaintance between Ruby and Oswald.^^^° 


Likewise, Kuby has held various memberships in the Dallas YMCA 
and Oswald lived there for brief periods ; however, there is no indica- 
j tion that they were there at the same time.^^^^ 

; Both Ruby and Oswald maintained post office boxes at the terminal 
I annex of the U.S. post office in Dallas, but there is no indication that 
j those facts were more than coincidental. On November 1, 1963, Os- 
I wald rented box No. 6225, his third since October 1962.^^^^ Oswald's 
' possible purpose has been discussed previously in this chapter. On 
November 7, 1963, Jack Ruby rented post office box No. 5475 because 
he hoped to receive mail responses to advertisements for the twistboard 
exercise device which he was then promoting.^^^^ Although it is con- 
ceivable that Oswald and Ruby coincidentally encountered one an- 
other while checking their boxes, the different daily schedules of the 
two men render even this possibility unlikely. Moreover, Oswald's 
withdrawn personality makes it improbable that the two would have 
spoken if their paths had crossed. 

The Conomission has also examined the known friends and acquaint- 
ances of Ruby and Oswald for evidence that the two were acquainted, 
but it has found very few possible links. One conceivable association 
was through Jolm Carter, a boarder at 1026 North Beckley Avenue 
while Oswald lived there. Carter was friendly with Wanda Joyce 
Killam, who had known Jack Ruby since shortly after he moved to 
Dallas in 1947 and worked for him from July 1963 to early Novem- 
ber 1963. Mrs. Killam, who volunteered the information about Car- 
ter's residence during an interview with an agent of the FBI, has 
stated that she did not believe Carter ever visited the Carousel Club 
and that she did not think Carter knew Ruby Carter s( ated that 
he had not heard of Ruby until Oswald was shot, had talked briefly 
with Oswald only once or twice, and had never heard Oswald mention 
Ruby or the Carousel Club.^^^^ The Commission has no reason to dis- 
believe either Mrs. Killam or Mr. Carter. 

A second possible link between Oswald and Ruby was through Earl- 
ene Roberts, the housekeeper at 1026 North Beckley Avenue. Bertha 
Cheek, the sister of Mrs. Roberts, is known to have visited Jack Ruby 
at the Carousel Club during the afternoon of November 18, 1963. 
Mrs. Cheek testified that she had met with Ruby and a person whom 
Ruby represented to be an interior decorator for the purpose of dis- 
cussing the possibility of financially backing Ruby in a new night- 
club which he planned to open. Mrs. Cheek said she had met Ruby 
only once, a few years before, and that she had not heard of Oswald 
until he shot President Kennedy.^^^^ Mr. Frank Boerder, the decora- 
tor who was present at the November 18 meeting, confirmed the sub- 
stance of the discussion reported by Mrs. Cheek,^^^^ and other witnesses 
establish that Ruby was, in fact, seeking an associate for a new night- 
club venture.^^^^ There is no evidence that Jack Ruby ever associated 
with Earlene Roberts, nor is there any indication that Mrs. Cheek 
knew of Lee Harvey Oswald prior to November 22."^^ 

Oswald's trips to the home of Mrs. Ruth Paine at 2115 West Fifth 
Street in Irving, Tex., presented another possible link to Ruby. 


T^Hiile Oswald's family resided with Mrs. Paine, William F. Simmons, 
pianoplayer in the musical combo which worked at the Carousel Club 
from September 17, 1963, until November 21, 1963, lived at 2539 West 
Fifth Street, in Irving. Simmons has stated that his only relation- 
ship to Ruby was as an employee, that Euby never visited him, that 
he did not know Oswald, and that he had never seen Oswald at the 
Carousel Club.^^^° Other persons in the neighborhood knew of no 
connection between Ruby and Oswald.^^®^ 

The Commission has investigated rumors that Jack Ruby and Lee 
Harvey Oswald were both homosexuals and, thus, might have known 
each other in that respect. However, no evidence has been uncovered 
to support the rumors, the closest acquaintances of both men em- 
phatically deny them,"^^ ^nd Rubj^'s nightclubs were not known to 
have been frequented by homosexuals. ^^^^ 

A final suggestion of a connection between Jack Ruby and Lee . 
Harvey Oswald arises from the testimony of Oswald's mother. Mar- 
guerite Oswald. Wlien appearing before the Commission, Mrs. 
Oswald related that on November 23, 1963, before Ruby shot Oswald, 
FBI Agent Bardwell D. Odum showed her a picture of a man she 
believed was Jack Ruby, and asked whether the man shown was 
familiar to her. Odum had first attempted to see Marina Oswald, but 
Marguerite refused to allow Marina to be disturbed at that time.^^^* 
In the course of Marguerite's testimony, the Connnission asked the 
FBI for a copy of the photograph displayed by Odum to her. When 
Marguerite viewed the photograph provided the Commission, she 
stated that the picture was different from the one she saw in November, 
in part because the "top two comers" were cut differently and because 
the man depicted was not Jack Ruby.^^^^ 

The Commission has investigated this matter and determined that 
Special Agent Odum did show a picture to Marguerite Oswald for 
possible identification but that the picture was nof of Jack Ruby. 
On November 22 the CIA had provided the FBI with a photograph 
of a man who, it was thought at the time, might have been associated 
with Oswald. To prevent the viewer from determining precisely 
where the picture had been taken, FBI Agent Odum had trimmed the 
background from the photograph by making a series of straight cuts 
which reduced the picture to an irregular hexagonal shape.^^^^ The 
picture which was displayed by the Commission to Marguerite Oswald 
was a copy of the same picture shown her by Agent Odum; however, 
in supplying a duplicate photograph for Commission use the FBI 
had cropped the background by cutting along the contours of the 
body of the man shown,^^^'' resulting in a photograph without any 
background, unlike the first photograph Marguerite viewed on No- 
vember 23. Affidavits obtained from the CIA and from the two FBI 
agents who trimmed the photogi^aphs established that the one shown to 
Mrs. Oswald before the Commission, though trimmed differently from 
the one shown her on November 23, was a copy of the same picture. 
Neither picture was of Jack Ruby.^^^^ The original photograph had 
been taken by the CIA outside of the United States sometime between 


July 1, 1963, and November 22, 1963, during all of which time Kuby 
was within the country.^^^ 

Ruby's Background and Associations 

In addition to examining in detail Jack Ruby's activities from 
November 21 to November 24 and his possible acquaintanceship with 
Lee Harvey Oswald, the Commission has considered whether or not 
Ruby had ties with individuals or groups that might have obvi- 
ated the need for any direct contact near the time of the assassination. 
Study of Jack Ruby's background, which is set out more fully in 
appendix XVI, leads to the firm conclusion that he had no such ties. 

Business activities. — Ruby's entire life is characteristic of a rigor- 
ously independent person. He moved from his family home soon 
after leaving high school at age 16, although a "family" residence has 
been maintained in Chicago throughout the years.^^°° Later, in 1947, 
he moved from Chicago to Dallas and maintained only sporadic con- 
tact with most of his f amily.^^^^ For most of his working years and 
continuously since 1947, Jack Ruby was self-employed.^^^^ Although 
he had partners from time to time, the partnerships were not lasting, 
and Ruby seems to have preferred to operate independently. 

Ruby's main sources of income were his two nightclubs — the Carou- 
sel Club and the Vegas Club — ^although he also frequently pur- 
sued a number of independent, short-lived business promotions. 
(Ruby's business dealings are described in greater detail in app. 
XVI.) At the time of the assassination, the United States claimed 
approximately $44,000 in delinquent taxes, and he was in substantial 
debt to his brother Earl and to his friend Ralph Paul.^^^^ However, 
there are no indications that Earl Ruby or Ralph Paul was exerting 
pressure for payment or that Ruby's tax liabilities were not susceptible 
to an acceptable settlement. Ruby operated his clubs on a cash basis, 
usually carrying large amounts of cash on his person; thus there is 
no particular significance to the fact that approximately $3,000 in 
cash was found on his person and in his automobile when arrested. 
Nor do his meager financial records reflect any suspicious activities. 
He used his bank accounts only infrequently, with no unexplained 
large transactions; and no entries were made to Ruby's safe-deposit 
boxes in over a year prior to the shooting of Oswald.^^^* There is 
no evidence that Ruby received any sums after his arrest except royal- 
ties from a syndicated newspaper article on his life and small contri- 
butions for his defense from friends, sympathizers, and family 

Ruby'^s political activities. — Jack Ruby considered himself a Dem- 
ocrat, perhaps in part because his brother Hyman had been active 
in Democratic ward politics in Chicago.^^^^ When Ruby was arrested, 
police officers found in his apartment, 10 political cards urging the 
election of the "Conservative Democratic slate," ^^^"^ but the Commis- 
sion has found no evidence that Ruby had distributed that literature 
and he is not known ever to have campaigned for any political candi- 


None of his friends or associates expressed any knowledge 
that he belonged to any groups interested in political issues, nor did 
they remember that h6 had discussed political problems except on rare 

As a young man, Ruby participated in attacks upon meetings of the 
German-American Bund in Chicago, but the assaults were the efforts 
of poolhall associates from his predominantly Jewish neighborhood 
rather than the work of any political group. His only other known 
activities which had any political flavor possessed stronger overtones 
of financial self-interest. In early 1942 he registered a copyright for 
a placard which displayed an American flag and bore the inscription 
"Remember Pearl Harbor." The placard was never successfully pro- 
moted. At other times, he is reported to have attempted to sell busts 
of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.^^^" The rabbi of Ruby's syna- 
gogue expressed the belief that Ruby was too unsophisticated to 
grasp or have a significant interest in any political creed.^^^^ Al- 
though various views have been given concerning Ruby's attitude 
toward President Kennedy prior to the assassination, the over- 
whelming number of witnesses reported that Ruby had considerable 
respect for the President, and there has been no report of any 
hostility toward him.^^^^ 

There is also no reliable indication that Ruby was ever associated 
with any Communist or radical causes. Jack Ruby's parents were 
born in Poland in the 1870's and his father served in the Czarist 
Russian army from 1893-98. Though neither parent became a citizen 
after emigrating to the United States in the early 1900's, the evi- 
dence indicates that neither Ruby nor his family maintained any 
ties with relatives in Europe.^^^^ Jack Ruby has denied ever being 
connected with any Communist activities. The FBI has reported 
that, prior to the shooting of Oswald, its nationwide files contained 
no information of any subversive activities by Ruby.^^^^ In addi- 
tion, a Commission staff member has personally examined all sub- 
versive activities reports from the Dallas-Fort Worth office of the 
FBI for the year 1963 and has found no reports pertaining to J ack 
Ruby or any of his known acquaintances.^^^^ 

The Commission has directed considerable attention to an allega- 
tion that Jack Ruby was connected with Communist Party activities 
in Muncie, Ind. On the day after Oswald's death, a former resident 
of Muncie claimed that between 1943 and 1947 a Chicagoan resembling 
Ruby and known to him as Jack Rubenstein was in Muncie on three oc- 
casions and associated with persons who the witness suspected were 
Communists. The witness stated that the man resembling Ruby visited 
Muncie during these years as a guest of the son-in-law of a now-de- 
ceased jeweler for whom the witness worked. ^^^^ A second son- 
in-law of the jewelry store owner suggested that he may have known 
Ruby while the two resided in Chicago,^^^^ but the son-in-law whom 
Ruby allegedly visited disclaimed any acquaintanceship with 
Ruby .^2^® Both sons-in-law denied any Communist activities and 


the Commission has found no contrary evidence other than the 
testimony pf the witness. 

On the first two occasions on which Euby is alleged to have been 
in Muncie, military records show him to have been on active military 
duty in the South.^^^® The witness also said that the man he knew 
as Kubenstein owned or managed a nightclub when he met him, but 
the Commission has no reliable evidence that Jack Ruby ever owned 
or worked in any nightclubs when he lived in Chicago.^^^^ The wit- 
ness further stated that on one occasion he found the name of Jack 
Rubenstein, or perhaps a similar name, together with the names of 
others he believed were Communists, on a list which had been left 
in a room above the jewelry store after a meeting held there. The 
witness said he gave the list to his wife's cousin, now deceased, who 
was then the chief of detectives in Muncie.^^^^ However, neither 
the list nor a person identifiable as Jack Ruby has been located after 
a thorough search by the FBI of its own files and those of the Muncie 
Police Department, the Indiana State Police, and other agencies.^^^^ 
The witness did not recall seeing Rubenstein in Muncie during the 
period of that meeting, and he had never heard Rubenstein say any- 
thing which would indicate he was a Communist.^^^^ 

The FBI has interviewed all living persons who the witness stated 
were involved with Ruby in Communist activities in Muncie. One 
person named by the witness was known previously to have been 
involved in Communist Party activities, but subversive activities files 
have revealed no such activities for any of the others.^^^* The ad- 
mitted former Communist denied knowing Ruby and stated that the 
jewelry store owner was not known to him as a Communist and that 
Communist meetings were never held above the store.^^^^ All other 
Muncie residents named by the witness as possible associates of Ruby 
denied knowing Ruby.^226 Similarly, fellow employees of the witness 
whom he did not claim were Communists knew of no Communist 
activities connected with the jewelry store owner or any visits of Jack 
Ruby, and FBI informants familiar with Communist activities in 
Indiana and Chicago did not know of any participation by Ruby.^^^^ 
Finally, the witness testified that even though he believed as early as 
1947 that all of the persons named by him were Communists he had 
never brought his information to the attention of any authority inves- 
tigating such activities, except for providing the alleged list to his 
cousin.^228 r^Y^Q Commission finds no basis for accepting the witness's 

The Commission has also investigated the possibility that Ruby was 
associated with ultraconservative political endeavors in Dallas. Upon 
his arrest, there were found in Ruby's possession two radio scripts of 
a right-wing program promoted by H. L. Hunt, whose political views 
are highly conservative. Ruby had acquired the scripts a few weeks 
earlier at the Texas Products Show, where they were enclosed in bags 
of Hunt food products. Ruby is reported to have become enraged 
when he discovered the scripts, and threatened to send one to "Ken- 
nedy." ^229 jjg ig j^Q^ known to have done anything with them prior to 


giving one to a radio announcer on Nevember 23 ; and on that day he 
seemed to confuse organizations of the extreme right with those of the 
far left.^^^'^ On November 21, Ruby drove Connie Trammel, a young 
college graduate whom he had met some months previously, to the 
office of Lamar Hunt, the son of H. L. Hunt, for a job interview. Al- 
though Ruby stated that he would like to meet Hunt, seemingly to es- 
tablish a business connection, he did not enter Hunt's office with her.^^^^ 

An allegation that Ruby was a visitor at the home of Maj. Gen. 
Edwin A. Walker (Resigned, U.S. Army) appears totally unfounded. 
The allegation was made in late May 1964 to an agent of the U.S. 
Secret Service by William McEwan Duff. Duff, who was discharged 
from military service in June 1964 because of a fraudulent enlistment, 
disclaimed any knowledge of Ruby or Oswald when questioned by 
FBI agents in January 1964.^232 

Another allegation connecting Jack Ruby with right-wing activi- 
ties was Mark Lane's assertion, mentioned previously, that an un- 
named informant told him of a meeting lasting more than 2 hours in 
the Carousel Club on November 14, 1963, between Jack Ruby, Patrol- 
man J. D. Tippit, and Bernard Weissman.^"^^ Although the name of 
Lane's informant has never been revealed to the Commission, an in- 
vestigation has been conducted in an effort to find corroboration for the 
claimed Tippit, Weissman, and Ruby meeting. No employee of the 
Carousel Club has any knowledge of the meeting described by Lane.^^^* 
Ruby and Weissman both deny that such a meeting occurred, and 
Officer Tippit's widow has no knowledge that her late husband ever 
went to the Carousel Club.^^^^ 

Some confusion has arisen, however, because early Friday after- 
noon, November 22, Ruby remarked that he knew the Tippit who 
had been shot by Oswald. Later Ruby stated that he did not 
know J. D. Tippit but that his reference was to G. M. Tippit, a mem- 
ber of the special services bureau of the Dallas Police Department who 
had visited Ruby establishments occasionally in the course of his official 
duties.^^^^ Larry Crafard was unable to recognize photographs of 
J. D. Tippit and had no recollection of a Tippit, Weissman, and Ruby 
meeting at any time.^^^^ However, uncertainty was introduced when 
Crafard identified a photograph of Bernard Weissman as resembling a 
man who had visited the Carousel Club and had been referred to by 
Ruby as "Weissman." ^^^^ In a subsequent interview Crafard stated 
that he believed Weissman was a detective on the Dallas Police Depart- 
ment, that his first name may have been Johnny, and that he was in 
his late thirties or early forties.^^^^ As set forth previously, Bernard 
Weissman was a 26-year-old New York carpet salesman. Crafard 
added "I could have my recollection of a Mr. Weissman mixed up 
with someone else".^^**^ 

Ruby's conduct on November 22 and 23, 1963, corroborates his denial 
that he knew Bernard Weissman. Ruby expressed hostility to the 
November 22 full-page advertisement to many persons. To none 
did he give any indication that he was familiar with the person listed 
as responsible for the advertisement.^^*^ His attempt on November 23 


to trace the holder of the post office box shown on the "Impeach Earl 
Warren" sign and to locate Weissman's name in a Dallas city direc- 
tory also tends to indicate that in fact he was not familiar with 
Weissman. Had he been involved in some type of unlawful activity 
with Weissman, it is highly unlikely that Ruby would have called 
attention to Weissman as he did. 

Investigation has disclosed no evidence that Officer J. D. Tippit was 
acquainted with either Ruby or Oswald. Neither Tippit's wife nor his 
close friends knew of such an acquaintanceship.^^^^ Tippit was not 
known to frequent nightclubs ^^^^ and he had no reason during the 
course of his police duties to enter Ruby's clubs.^^^^ Although at the 
time of the assassination Tippit was working weekends in a Dallas 
restaurant owned by a member of the John Birch Society, the 
restaurant owner stated that he never discussed politics with Tippit.^^*® 
Persons close to Tippit related that Tippit rarely discussed political 
matters with any person and that he was a member of no political 
organization.^2*^ Telephone records for the period following Septem- 
ber 26, 1963, revealed no suspicious long-distance calls from the Tippit 

Tippit's encounter with Oswald following the shooting of the Presi- 
dent is indicative of no prior association between the two men. Police 
radio logs show that, as part of general directions issued to all officers 
immediately after the assassination, Tippit was specifically directed 
to patrol the Oak Cliff area where he came upon Oswald.^^^^ His 
movement from the area which he had been patrolling into the central 
Oak Cliff area was also in conformity with the normal procedure 
of the Dallas Police Department for partol cars to cover nearby 
districts when the patrol cars in that district became otherwise en- 
gaged, as occurred after the assassination.^^^*^ Oswald fit the general 
description, which, 15 minutes after the assassination, was broadcast to 
all police cars of a suspect described by a bystander who had seen 
Oswald in the sixth-floor window of the Texas School Book Deposi- 
tory .^^^^ There is thus no basis for any inference that, in approaching 
Oswald, Tippit was acting other than in the line of police duty. 

Allegations of Cuban activity. — No substantiation has been found 
for rumors linking Ruby with pro- or anti-Castro Cuban activities,^^^^ 
except for one incident in January 1959 w^hen Ruby made preliminary 
inquiries, as a middleman, concerning the possible sale to Cuba of 
some surplus jeeps located in Shreveport, La., and asked about the 
possible release of prisoners from a Cuban prison. No evidence has 
been developed that the project ever became more than a "possibility". 
Ruby explained that in early 1959 United States sentiment toward 
Cuba was still favorable and that he was merely pursuing a money- 
making opportunity.^2^^ 

During the period of the "jeep sale", R. D. Matthews, a gambler 
and a "passing acquaintance" of Ruby, returned to Dallas from Ha- 
vana where he had been living. In mid-1959, he returned to Cuba 
until mid-1960.1254 Qn October 3, 1963, a telephone call was made from 
the Carousel Club to Matthews' former wife in Shreveport.^'^^ No 


evidence has been uncovered that Matthews was associated with the 
sale of jeeps or the release of prisoners or that he knew of Oswald 
prior to the assassination.^^^® Matthews' ex-wife did not recall the 
phone call in October of 1963, and she asserted that she did not know 
Jack Kuby or anybody working for him.^^^^ 

In September 1959, Ruby traveled to Havana as a guest of a close 
friend and known gambler, Lewis J. McWillie. Both Ruby and 
McWillie state the trip was purely social.^^^^ In January 1961, 
McWillie left Cuba with strong feelings of hostility to the Castro 
regime. In early 1963, Ruby purchased a pistol which he shipped to 
McWillie in Nevada, but McWillie did not accept the package.^^^^ 
The Commission has found no evidence that McWillie has engaged in 
any activities since leaving Cuba that are related to pro- or anti-Castro 
political movements or that he was involved in Ruby's abortive jeep 

The Commission has also received evidence that in April 1962, a 
telegram sent to Havana, Cuba, was charged to the business telephone 
of Earl Ruby, br^)ther of Jack Ruby.^^eo j^arl Ruby stated that he 
was unable to recall that telegram but testified that he had never trav- 
eled to Cuba nor had any dealings with persons in Cuba.^^®^ Jack 
Ruby is not known to have visited his brother at that time, and during 
that period Earl and Jack did not maintain a close relationship.^^^^ 
Earl Ruby is not known to have been involved in any subversive 

Finally, examination of FBI information relative to Cuban groups 
in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for the year 1963 fails to disclose any 
person who might provide a link between Ruby and such groups.^** 
The Central Intelligence Agency has no information suggesting that 
J ack Ruby or any of his closest associates have been involved in any 
type of revolutionary or subversive Cuban activity.^^ 

Possible mhderworld connections. — The Commission has investi- 
gated Ruby's pf)ssible criminal activities, looking with particular 
concern for evidence that he engaged in illegal activities with mem- 
bers of the organized underworld or that, on his own, he was a pro- 
moter of illegal endeavors. The results of that investigation are more 
fully detailed in appendix XVI. Ruby was reared in a Chicago 
neighborhood where he became acquainted with local criminals and 
with persons who later became criminals. Throughout liis life. Ruby's 
friendships with persons of that character were limited largely to 
professional gamblers, although his night club businesses brought him 
in contact with persons who had been convicted of other offenses. 
There is no credible evidence that Ruby, liimself, gambled on other 
than a social basis or that he had any unpaid gambling debts.^^^^ He 
had never been charged with a felony prior to his attack on Oswald ; 
his only encounters in Chicago stemmed from ticket scalping and the 
unauthorized sale of copyrighted music; and, m Dallas, his law vio- 
lations, excluding traffic charges, resulted from the operation of his 
clubs or outbursts of temper.^^^^ Ruby has disclaimed that he was 


associated with organized criminal activities, and law enforcement 
agencies have confirmed that denial.^^^^ 

Investigation of George Senator. — In addition to examining Ruby's 
own activities and background, the Commission has paid careful atten- 
tion to the activities and background of George Senator, Ruby's 
roommate and one of his closest friends in Dallas. Senator was inter- 
rogated by staff members over a 2-day period ; he provided a detailed 
account of his own life and cooperated fully in all aspects of the 
Commission's inquiry into the activities of Jack Ruby. 

Senator was 50 years old at the time Ruby shot Oswald. He had 
been born September 4, 1913, in Gloversville, N.Y., and had received 
an eighth grade education. Upon leaving school, he worked in Glov- 
ersville and New York City until about age 25. For the next few 
years he worked in various restaurants and cafeterias in New York 
and Florida until enlisting in the Army in August 1941.^^^^ After his 
honorable discharge in September 1945, Senator was employed for 
most of the next 13 years selling inexpensive dresses throughout the 
South and Southwest. In the course of that employment he moved 
to Dallas where he met Jack Ruby while visiting Ruby's Vegas Club 
in about 1955 or 1956.^^^^ Ruby was one of many who helped Senator 
when he encountered financial difficulties during the years 1958 to 

1962, For a while in 1962, Ruby provided room and board in ex- 
change for Senator's help in his clubs and apartment. In August 

1963, Senator was imable to maintain his own apartment alone follow- 
ing his roommate's marriage. Ruby again offered to help and on 
November 1, 1963, Senator moved into Ruby's apartment.^^^^ The 
Commission has found no evidence that Senator ever engaged in any 
political activities. ^^^^ 

Against this background the Commission has evaluated Senator's 
account of his own activities on November 22, 23, and 24. When 
questioned by Dallas and Federal authorities hours after the shooting 
of Oswald, Senator omitted mention of having accompanied Ruby 
to photograph the "Impeach Earl Warren" sign on Saturday morning. 
Senator stated to Commission staff members that in the interviews of 
November 24 he omitted the incident because of oversight.^^^^ How- 
ever, he spoke freely about it in his sworn testimony and no inaccu- 
racies have been noted in that portion of his testimony. Senator also 
failed to mention to the Commission and to previous interrogators 
that, shortly after Ruby left their apartment Sunday morning, he 
called friends, Mr. and Mrs. William Downey, and offered to visit their 
apartment and make breakfast for them.^^^^ Downey stated, in June 

1964, that Senator said he was alone and that, after Downey declined 
the offer. Senator remarked that he would then go downtown for 
breakfast.^2^^ When told of Downey's account, Senator denied it and 
explained that the two were not friendly by the time Senator left 
Dallas about six weeks after the assassination.^276 

The Commission also experienced difficulty in ascertaining the 
activities of Senator on November 22 and 23. He was unable to ac- 
count specifically for large segments of time when he was not with 


And, as to places and people Senator says he visited on 
those days prior to the time Oswald was shot, the Commission has 
been unsuccessful in obtaining verification.^^^^ Senator admitted that 
he had spent much of that time drinking but denied that he was 

It is difficult to know with complete certainty whether Senator 
had any foreknowledge of the shooting of Oswald. Ruby testified that 
at about 10:15 a.m. on Sunday morning, November 24, he said, in 
Senator's presence, "If something happened to this person, that then 
Mrs. Kennedy won't have to come back for the trial." ^^so According to 
Ruby, this is the most explicit statement he made concerning Oswald 
that moming.^2®^ Senator denies any knowledge of Ruby's inten- 

Senator's general response to the shooting was not like that of a per- 
son seeking to conceal his guilt. Shortly before it was known that 
Ruby was the slayer of Oswald, Senator visited the Eat well Restaurant 
in downtown Dallas. Upon being informed that Ruby was the at- 
tacker. Senator exclaimed, "My God," in what appeared to be a genu- 
inely surprised tone.^^^^ He then ran to a telephone, returned to gulp 
down his coffee, and quickly departed.^^* He drove promptly to the 
home of James Martin, an attorney and friend. Martin recalled that 
Senator's concern was for his friend Ruby and not for himself.^^**^ 
Martin and Senator drove to the Dallas Police Department where Sen- 
ator voluntarily submitted himself to police questioning, and gave in- 
terviews to newspaper and television reporters.^^^^ The Commission 
has concluded, on the basis of its investigation into Senator's back- 
ground, activities, and reaction to the shooting, that Senator did not 
aid or conspire with Jack Ruby in the killing of Oswald. 

Ruby'^s activities preceding President''s trip. — In addition to the 
broad investigation into Ruby's background and associations, the 
Commission delved particularly into Ruby's pattern of activities dur- 
ing the 2 months preceding President Kennedy's visit to Dallas in 
order to determine whether there was unusual conduct which might 
be linked to the President's forthcoming trip. 

The Commission has been able to account specifically for J ack Ruby's 
presence in Dallas on every day after September 26, 1963, except 
five — September 29, 30 and October 11, 14, and 24 — and there is no evi- 
dence that he was out of the Dallas-Fort Worth area on those days.^^^^ 
The report of one person who saw Ruby on September 28 indicates that 
Ruby probably remained in Dallas on September 29 and 30,^^^^ when 
Oswald was in Mexico City. The Commission has looked for but has 
found no evidence that Ruby traveled to Mexico at that time.^^^^ Both 
Ruby and Ralph Paul have stated that Ruby did not leave the Dallas- 
Fort Worth area during September, October, or November 1963.^^^° 

During October and November of 1963, Jack Ruby maintained his 
usual vigorous pace of business activities. In particular, he directed 
considerable attention to his two nightclubs and to other business 


During the final month before the Kennedy trip, his 
time was increasingly occupied with personnel problems at both his 
clubs. There is no indication that he devoted less than full atten- 
tion to these matters or that he appeared preoccupied with other af- 
fairs. His acquaintances did feel that Ruby seemed depressed and 
concerned that his friends were deserting him.^^^^ However, there 
were no signs of secretive conduct. 

Scrutiny of Ruby's activities during the several days preceding 
the President's arrival in Dallas has revealed no indication of any 
unusual activity. Ruby is remembered to have discussed the Presi- 
dent's impending trip with only two persons and only briefly.^^^^ 
Two newspapers containing a description of the expected motorcade 
routes through Dallas and Fort Worth were found in Ruby's car at 
the time of this arrest. However, such papers circulated widely in 
Dallas, and Ruby's car, like his apartment, was so cluttered with other 
newspapers, notebooks, brochures, cards, clothing, and personal 
items ^2^* that there is no reason to attach any significance to the papers. 

Aside from the results of the Commission's investigation reported 
above, there are other reasons to doubt that Jack Ruby would have 
shot Oswald as he did if he had been involved in a conspiracy to carry 
out the assassination, or that he would have been delegated to perform 
the shooting of Oswald on behalf of others who were involved in 
the slaying of the President. By striking in the city jail. Ruby was 
certain to be apprehended. An attempt to silence Oswald by having 
Ruby kill him would have presented exceptionally grave dangers to 
any other persons involved in the scheme. If the attempt had failed, 
Oswald might have been moved to disclose his confederates to the 
authorities. If it succeeded, as it did, the additional killing might 
itself have produced a trail to them. Moreover, Ruby was regarded 
by most persons who knew him as moody and unstable — hardly one to 
have encouraged the confidence of persons involved in a sensitive con- 

Since his apprehension, Jack Ruby has provided the Federal au- 
thorities with several detailed accounts of his activities both preced- 
ing and following the assassination of President Kennedy. Ruby has 
shown no reluctance to answer any questions addressed to him. The 
accounts provided by Ruby are consistent with evidence available to 
the Commission from other sources. 

These additional considerations are thus fully consistent with the 
results of the Commission's investigation. Rumors of a connection 
between Ruby and Oswald have proved groundless, while exam- 
ination of Ruby's background and associations, his behavior prior to 
the assassination, and his activities during the November 22-24 week- 
end has yielded no evidence that Ruby conspired with anyone in 
planning or executing the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. Whatever 
the legal culpability of Jack Ruby for his act of November 24, the 
evidence is persuasive that he acted independently in shooting Oswald. 



Based upon the investigation reviewed in this chapter, the Commis- 
sion concluded that there is no credible evidence that Lee Harvey 
Oswald was part of a conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. 
Examination of the facts of the assassination itself revealed no indica- 
tion that Oswald was aided in the planning or execution of his scheme. 
Eeview of Oswald's life and activities since 1959, although productive 
in illuminating the character of Lee ITarvey Oswald (which is dis- 
cussed in the next chapter), did not produce any meaningful evi- 
dence of a conspiracy. The Commission discovered no evidence 
that the Soviet Union or Cuba were involved in the assassination 
of President Kennedy. Nor did the Commission's investigation of 
Jack Ruby produce any grounds for believing that Ruby's killing 
of Oswald was part of a conspiracy. The conclusion that there is no 
evidence of a conspiracy was also reached independently by Dean 
Rusk, the Secretary of State; Robert S. McNamara, the Secretary of 
Defense ; C. Douglas Dillon, the Secretary of the Treasury ; Robert F. 
Kennedy, the Attorney General ; J. Edgar Hoover, the Director of the 
FBI ; John A. McCone, the Director of the CIA ; and James J. Row- 
ley, the Chief of the Secret Service, on the basis of the information 
available to each of them.^^^^ 



Lee Harvey Oswald: Background and 
Possible Motives 

THE EVIDENCE reviewed above identifies Lee Harvey 
Oswald as the assassin of President Kennedy and indicates 
that he acted alone in that event. There is no evidence that 
he had accomplices or that he was involved in any conspiracy directed 
to the assassination of the President. There remains the question of 
what impelled Oswald to conceive and to carry out the assassination 
of the President of the United States. The Commission has considered 
many possible motives for the assassination, including those which 
might flow from Oswald's commitment to Marxism or communism, 
the existence of some personal grievance, a desire to effect changes in 
the structure of society or simply to go down in history as a well 
publicized assassin. None of these possibilities satisfactorily explains 
Oswald's act if it is judged by the standards of reasonable men. The 
motives of any man, however, must be analyzed in terms of the 
character and state of mind of the particular individual involved. 
For a motive that appears incomprehensible to other men may be the 
moving force of a man whose view of the world has been twisted, 
possibly by factors of which those around him were only dimly aware. 
Oswald's complete state of mind and character are now outside of 
the power of man to know. He cannot, of course, be questioned or ob- 
served by those charged with the responsibility for this report or by 
experts on their behalf. There is, however, a large amount of material 
available in his writings and in the history of his life which does give 
some insight into his character and, possibly, into the motives for his 

Since Oswald is dead, the Commission is not able to reach any 
definite conclusions as to whether or not he was "sane" under pre- 
vailing legal standards. Under our system of justice no forum could 
properly make that determination unless Oswald were before it. It 
certainly could not be made by this Commission which, as has been 
pointed out above, ascertained the facts surrounding the assassination 
but did not draw conclusions concerning Oswald's legal guilt. 

Indications of Oswald's motivation may be obtained from a study 
of the events, relationships and influences which appear to have been 


significant in shaping his character and in guiding him. Perhaps the 
most outstanding conclusion of such a study is that Oswald was pro- 
foundly alienated from the world in which he lived. His life was 
characterized by isolation, frustration, and failure. He had very few, 
if any, close relationships with other people and he appeared to have 
great difficulty in finding a meaningful place in the world. He was 
never satisfied with anything. When he was in the United States he 
resented the capitalist system which he thought was exploiting him 
and others like him. He seemed to prefer the Soviet Union and he 
spoke highly of Cuba.^ When he was in the Soviet Union, he appar- 
ently resented the Communist Party members, who were accorded spe- 
cial privileges and who he thought were betraying communism, and he 
spoke well of the United States.^ He accused his wife of preferring 
others to himself and told her to return to the Soviet Union without 
him but without a divorce. At the same time he professed his love for 
her and said that he could not get along without her.^ Marina Oswald 
thought that he would not be happy anywhere, "Only on the moon, 
perhaps." * 

While Oswald appeared to most of those who knew him as a meek 
and harmless person, he sometimes imagined himself as "the Com- 
mander" ^ and, apparently seriously, as a political prophet — a man who 
said that after 20 years he would be prime minister.^ His wife testified 
that he compared himself with great leaders of history. Such ideas of 
grandeur were apparently accompanied by notions of oppression.'^ 
He had a great hostility toward his environment, whatever it happened 
to be, which he expressed in striking and sometimes violent acts long 
before the assassination. There was some quality about him that led 
him to act with an apparent disregard for possible consequences.^ He 
defected to the Soviet Union, shot at General Walker, tried to go to 
Cuba and even contemplated hijacking an airplane to get there. He 
assassinated the President, shot Officer Tippit, resisted arrest and 
tried to kill another policeman in the process. 

Oswald apparently started reading about commmiism when he was 
about 15. In the Marines, he evidenced a strong conviction as to the 
correctness of Marxist doctrine, which one associate described as "ir- 
revocable," but also as "theoretical" ; that associate did not think that 
Oswald was a Communist.® Oswald did not always distinguish 
between Marxism and communism.^^ He stated several times that he 
was a Communist but apparently never joined any Communist Party .^^ 

His attachment to Marxist and Communist doctrine was probably, 
in some measure, an expression of his hostility to his environment. 
While there is doubt about how fully Oswald understood the doctrine 
which he so often espoused, it seems clear that his commitment to 
Marxism was an important factor influencing his conduct during his 
adult years. It was an obvious element in his decision to go to Russia 
and later to Cuba and it probably influenced his decision to shoot at 
General Walker. It was a factor which contributed to his character 


and thereby might have influenced his decision to assassinate President 

The discussion below Avill describe the events known to the Commis- 
sion which most clearly reveals the formation and nature of Oswald's 
character. It will attempt to summarize the events of his early life, 
his experience in New York City and in the Marine Corps, and his in- 
terest in Marxism. It Avill examine his defection to the Soviet Union 
in 1959, his subsequent return to the United States and his life here 
after June of 1962. The review of the latter period will evaluate his 
personal and employment relations, his attempt to kill General Walker, 
his political activities, and his unsuccessful attempt to go to Cuba in 
late September of 1963. Various possible motives will be treated in 
the appropriate context of the discussion outlined above. 

The Early Years 

Significant in shaping the character of Lee Harvey Oswald was 
the death of his father, a collector of insurance premiums. This 
occurred 2 months before Lee was born in New Orleans on October 18, 
1939.^2 That death strained the financial fortunes of the remainder 
of the Oswald family. It had its effect on Lee's mother. Marguerite, 
his brother Robert, who had been born in 1934, and his half-brother 
J ohn Pic, who had been born in 1932 during Marguerite's previous mar- 
riage.^^ It forced Marguerite Oswald to go to work to provide for 
her family.^* Reminding her sons that they were orphans and that 
the family's financial condition was poor, she placed John Pic and 
Robert Oswald in an orphans' home.^^ From the time Marguerite 
Oswald returned to work until December 26, 1942, when Lee too was 
sent to the orphans' home, he was cared for principally by his mother's 
sister, by babysitters and by his mother, when she had time for him.^^ 

Marguerite Osw^ald withdrew Lee from the orphans' home and took 
him with her to Dallas when he was a little over 4 years old.^^ About 
6 months later she also withdrew John Pic and Robert Oswald.^^ Ap- 
parently that action was taken in anticipation of her marriage to 
Edwin A. Ekdahl, which took place in May of 1945.^^ In the fall of 
that year John Pic and Robert Oswald went to a military academy 
where they stayed, except for vacations, until the spring of 1948. 
Lee Oswald remained with his mother and Ekdahl,^^ to whom he be- 
came quite attached. John Pic testified that he thought Lee found 
in Ekdahl the father that he never had.^^ That situation, however, 
was short-lived, for the relations between Marguerite Oswald and 
Ekdahl were stormy and they were finally divorced, after several 
separations and reunions, in the summer of 1948.^^ 

After the divorce Mrs. Oswald complained considerably about how 
unfairly she was treated, dw^elling on the fact that she was a widow 
with three children. John Pic, however, did not think her position 
was worse than that of many other people.^^ In the fall of 1948 she 
told John Pic and Robert Oswald that she could not afford to send 
them back to the military school and she asked Pic to quit school 


730-900 0-64— 26 

entirely to help support the family, which he did for 4 months in the 
fall of 1948.^^ In order to supplement their income further she falsely 
SAvore that Pic was 17 years old so that he could join the Marine Corps 
Reserves. Pic did turn over part of his income to his mother, but he 
returned to high school in January of 1949, where he stayed until 3 
days before he was scheduled to graduate, when he left school in order 
to get into the Coast Guard.^^ Since his mother did not approve of 
his decision to continue school he accepted the responsibility for that 
decision himself and signed his mother's name to all his own excuses and 
report cards. 

Pic thought that his mother overstated her financial problems and 
was unduly concerned about money. Referring to the period after 
the divorce from Ekdahl, which was apparently caused in part by 
Marguerite's desire to get more money from him, Pic said : "Lee was 
brought up in this atmosphere of constant money problems, and I am 
sure it had quite an effect on him, and also Robert." Marguerite 
Oswald worked in miscellaneous jobs after her divorce from Ekdahl.^° 
When she worked for a time as an insurance saleslady, she would some- 
times take Lee with her, apparently leaving him alone in the car while 
she transacted her business.^^ When she worked during the school 
year, Lee had to leave an empty house in the morning, return to it for 
lunch and then again at night, his mother having trained him to do 
that rather than to play with other children.^^ 

An indication of the nature of Lee's character at this time was pro- 
vided in the spring of 1950, when he was sent to New Orleans to visit 
the family of his mother's sister, Mrs. Lillian Murret, for 2 or 3 
weeks. Despite their urgings, he refused to play with the other 
children his own age.^^ It also appears that Lee tried to tag along 
with his older brothers but apparently was not able to spend as much 
time with them as he would have liked, because of the age gaps of 5 
and 7 years, which became more significant as the children grew 

New York City 

Whatever problems may have been created by Lee's home life in 
Louisiana and Texas, he apparently adjusted well enough there to 
have had an average, although gradually deteriorating, school record 
with no behavior or truancy problems. That was not the case, how- 
ever, after he and his mother moved to New York in August of 1952, 
shortly before Lee's 13th birthday. They moved shortly after Robert 
joined the Marines; they lived for a time with John Pic who was 
stationed there with the Coast Guard. Relations soon became 
strained, however,^® so in late September Lee and his mother moved 
to their own apartment in the Bronx.^^ Pic and his wife would 
have been happy to have kept Lee, however, who was becoming quite 
a disciplinary problem for his mother, having struck her on at least 
one occasion.^^ 

The short-lived stay with the Pics was terminated after an incident 
in which Lee allegedly pulled out a pocket knife during an argument 


and threatened to use it on Mrs. Pic. When Pic returned home, Mrs. 
Oswald tried to play down the event but Mrs. Pic took a different view 
and asked the Oswalds to leave. Lee refused to discuss the matter with 
Pic, whom he had previously idolized, and their relations were strained 

On September 30, 1952, Lee enrolled in P.S. 117,^ a junior high 
school in the Bronx, where the other children apparently teased him be- 
cause of his "western" clothes and Texas accent.^^ He began to stay 
away from school, preferring to read magazines and watch television at 
home by himself.*^ This continued despite the efforts of the school 
authorities and, to a lesser extent, of his mother to have him return to 
school.*^ Truancy charges were brought against him alleging that he 
Avas "beyond the control of his mother insofar as school attendance is 
concerned." Lee Oswald was remanded for psychiatric observation 
to Youth House, an institution in which children are kept for psychi- 
atric observation or for detention pending court appearance or com- 
mitment to a child-caring or custodial institution such as a training 
school.^^ He was in Youth House from April 16 to May 7, 1953,*® 
during which time he was examined by its Chief Psychiatrist, Dr. 
Renatus Hartogs, and interviewed and observed by other members of 
the Youth House staff.*^ 

Marguerite Oswald visited her son at Youth House, where she re- 
called that she waited in line "with Puerto Eicans and Negroes and 
everything." She said that her pocketbook was searched "because 
the children in this home were such criminals, dope fiends, and had 
been in criminal offenses, that anybody entering this home had to be 
searched in case the parents were bringing cigarettes or narcotics or 
anything." She recalled that Lee cried and said, "Mother, I want to 
get out of here. There are children in here who have killed people, 
and smoke. I want to get out." Marguerite Oswald said that she 
had not realized until then in what kind of place her son had been 

On the other hand, Lee told his probation officer, John Carro, that 
"while he liked Youth House he miss[ed] the freedom of doing what 
he wanted. He indicated that he did not miss his mother." Mrs. 
Evelyn Strickman Siegel, a social worker who interviewed both Lee 
and his mother while Lee was confined in Youth House, reported 
that Lee "confided that the worse thing about Youth House was the 
fact that he had to be with other boys all the time, was disturbed about 
disrobing in front of them, taking showers with them etc." 

Contrary to reports that appeared after the assassination, the psy- 
chiatric examination did not indicate that Lee Oswald was a potential 
assassin, potentially dangerous, that "his outlook on life had 
strongly paranoid overtones" or that he should be institutionalized.^* 
Dr. Hartogs did find Oswald to be a tense, withdrawn, and evasive 
boy who intensely disliked talking about himself and his feelings. 
He noted that Lee liked to give the impression that he did not care 
for other people but preferred to keep to himself, so that he was not 
bothered and did not have to make the effort of communicating. Os- 


wald's withdrawn tendencies and solitary habits were thought to be 
the result of "intense anxiety, shyness, feelings of awkwardness 
and insecurity." He was reported to have said "I don't want a 
friend and I don't like to talk to people" and "I dislike everybody." -^^ 
He was also described as having a "vivid fantasy life, turning around 
the topics of omnipotence and power, through which he tries to com- 
pensate for his present shortcomings and frustrations." Dr. Har- 
togs summarized his report by stating : 

This 13 year old well built boy has superior mental resources 
and functions only slightly below his capacity level in spite of 
chronic truancy from school which brought him into Youth 
House. No finding of neurological impairment or psychotic 
mental changes could be made. Lee has to be diagnosed as "per- 
sonality pattern disturbance with schizoid features and passive — 
aggressive tendencies." Lee has to be seen as an emotionally, quite 
disturbed youngster who suffers under the impact of really exist- 
ing emotional isolation and deprivation, lack of affection, ab- 
sence of family life and rejection by a self involved and conflicted 

Dr. Hartogs recommended that Oswald be placed on probation on 
condition that he seek help and guidance through a child guidance 
clinic. There, he suggested, Lee should be treated by a male psychia- 
trist who could substitute for the lack of a father figure. He also 
recommended that Mrs. Oswald seek "psychotherapeutic guidance 
through contact with a family agency." The possibility of commit- 
ment was to be considered only if the probation plan was not suc- 

Lee's withdrawal was also noted by Mrs. Siegel, who described him 
as a "seriously detached, withdrawn yoimgster." ^° She also noted 
that there was "a rather pleasant, appealing quality about this emo- 
tionally starved, affect ionless youngster which grows as one speaks 
to him." She thought that he had detached himself from the world 
around him because "no one in it ever met any of his needs for love." 
She observed that smce Lee's mother worked all day, he made his 
own meals and spent all his time alone because he didn't make friends 
with the boys in the neighborhood. She thought that he "withdrew 
into a completely solitary and detached existence where he did as he 
wanted and he didn't have to live by any rules or come into contact 
with people." Mrs. Siegel concluded that Lee "just felt that 
his mother never gave a damn for him. He always felt like a burden 
that she simply just had to tolerate." Lee confirmed some of 
those observations by saying that he felt almost as if there were a 
veil between him and other people through which they could not 
reach him, but that he preferred the veil to remain intact. He ad- 
mitted to fantasies about being powerful and sometimes hurting and 
killing people, but refused to elaborate on them. He took the position 
that such matters were his own business.^^ 


A psychological human figure- drawing test corroborated the inter- 
viewer's findings that Lee was insecure and had limited social con- 
tacts. Irving Sokolow, a Youth House psychologist reported that: 

The Human Figure Drawings are empty, poor characterizations 
of persons approximately the same age as the subject. They 
reflect a considerable amount of impoverishment in the social and 
emotional areas. He appears to be a somewhat insecure young- 
ster exhibiting much inclination for warm and satisfying relation- 
ships to others. There is some indication that he may relate to 
men more easily than to women in view of the more mature con- 
ceptualisation. He appears slightly withdrawn and in view of 
the lack of detail within the drawings this may assume a more 
significant characteristic. He exhibits some difficulty in relation- 
ship to the maternal figure suggesting more anxiety in this area 
than in any other.^® 

Lee scored an IQ of 118 on the Wechsler Intelligence Scale for Chil- 
dren. According to Sokolow, this indicated a "present intellectual 
functioning in the upper range of bright normal intelligence." ®^ 
Sokolow said that although Lee was "presumably disinterested in 
school subjects he operates on a much higher than average level." 
On the Monroe Silent Reading Test, Lee's score indicated no retarda- 
tion in reading speed and comprehension ; he had better than average 
ability in arithmetical reasoning for his age group.^^ 

Lee told Carro, his probation officer, that he liked to be by himself be- 
cause he had too much difficulty in making friends."^^ The reports 
of Carro and Mrs. Siegel also indicate an ambivalent attitude toward 
authority on Oswald's part. Carro reported that Lee was disruptive 
in class after he returned to school on a regular basis in the fall of 
1953. He had refused to salute the flag and was doing very little, if 
any, work. It appears that he did not want to do any of the things 
which the authorities suggested in their efforts to bring him out of the 
shell into which he appeared to be retreating.'^ He told Mrs. Siegel 
that he would run away if sent to a boarding school. On the other 
hand he also told her that he wished his mother had been more firm 
with him in her attempts to get him to return to school.'^^ 

The reports of the New York authorities indicate that Lee's 
mother gave him very little affection and did not serve as any sort 
of substitute for a father. Furthermore she did not appear to under- 
stand her own relationship to Lee's psychological problems. After 
her interview with Mrs. Oswald, Mrs. Siegel described her as a "smartly 
dressed, gray haired woman, very self-possessed and alert and super- 
ficially affable," but essentially a "defensive, rigid, self -involved person 
who had real difficulty in accepting and relating to people" and who 
had "little understanding" of Lee's behavior and of the "protective 
shell he has drawn around himself." Dr. Hartogs reported that Mrs. 
Oswald did not understand that Lee's withdrawal was a form of "vio- 
lent but silent protest against his neglect by her and represents his reac- 


tion to a complete absence of any real family life." Carro re- 
ported that when questioned about his mother Lee said, "well I've got 
to live with her. I guess I love her." It may also be significant that, 
as reported by John Pic, "Lee slept with my mother until I joined the 
service in 1950. This would make him approximately 10, well, almost 
11 years old." 

The factors in Lee Oswald's personality which were noted by those 
who had contact with him in New York indicate that he had great 
difficulty in adapting himself to conditions in that city. His usual 
reaction to the problems which he encountered there was simply 
withdrawal. Those factors indicated a severe inability to enter 
into relationships with other people. In view of his experiences when 
he visited his relatives in New Orleans in the spring of 1950, and his 
other solitary habits, Lee had apparently been experiencing similar 
problems before going to New York, and as will be shown below, tliis 
failure to adapt to his environment was a dominant trait in his later 

It would be incorrect, however, to believe that those aspects of Lee's 
personality which were observed in New York could have led anyone 
to predict the outburst of violence which finally occurred. Carro was 
the only one of Oswald's three principal observers who recommended 
that he be placed in a boy's home or similar institution.^' But Carro 
was quite specific that his recommendation was based primarily on the 
adverse factors in Lee's environment — his lack of friends, the apparent 
unavailability of any agency assistance and the ineffectualness of his 
mother — and not on any particular mental disturbance in the boy 
himself .^^ Carro testified that : 

There was nothing that would lead me to believe when I saw 
him at the age of 12 that there would be seeds of destruction for 
somebody. I couldn't in all honesty sincerely say such a thing.''® 

Mrs. Siegel concluded her report with the statement that : 

Despite his withdrawal, he gives the impression that he is not 
so difficult to reach as he appears and patient, prolonged effort 
in a sustained relationship with one therapist might bring re- 
sults. There are indications that he has suffered serious per- 
sonality damage but if he can receive help quickly this might be 
repaired to some extent.^*^ 

Lee Oswald never received that help. Few social agencies even 
in New York were equipped to provide the kind of intensive treat- 
ment that he needed, and when one of the city's clinics did find room 
to handle him, for some reason the record does not show, advantage was 
never taken of the chance afforded to Oswald. "^Ylien Lee became a dis- 
ciplinary problem upon his return to school in the fall of 1953, and 
when his mother failed to cooperate in any way with school authorities, 
authorities were finally forced to consider placement in a home for 
boys. Such a placement was postponed, however, perhaps in part at 


least because Lee's behavior suddenly improved. Before the court took 
any action, the Oswalds left New York in J anuary of 1954, and re- 
turned to New Orleans where Lee finished the ninth grade before he 
left school to work for a year.^^ Then in October of 1956, he joined 
the Marines.®^ 

Return to New Orleans and Joining the Marine Corps 

After his return to New Orleans Oswald was teased at school because 
of the northern accent which he had acquired.^^ He concluded that 
school had nothing to offer him.*^ His mother exercised little control 
over him and thought he could decide for himself whether to go on in 
school.^^ Neighbors and others who knew him at that time recall an 
introverted boy who read a great deal.^^ He took walks and visited 
museums, and sometimes rode a rented bicycle in the park on Saturday 
mornings.^^ Mrs. Murret believes that he talked at length with a girl 
on the telephone, but no one remembers that he had any dates.^^ A 
friend, Edward Voebel, testified that "he was more bashful about girls 
than anything else." 

Several witnesses testified that Lee Oswald was not aggressive.®^ He 
was, however, involved in some fights. Once a group of white boys beat 
him up for sitting in the Negro section of a bus, which he apparently 
did simply out of ignorance.®^ Another time, he fought with two 
brothers who claimed that he had picked on the younger of them, 3 
years Oswald's junior. Two days later, "some big guy, probably from 
a high school — he looked like a tremendous football player" accosted 
Oswald on the way home from school and punched him in the mouth, 
making his lip bleed and loosening a tooth. Voebel took Oswald back 
to the school to attend to his wounds, and their "mild friendship" 
stemmed from that incident.®^ Voebel also recalled that Oswald once 
outlined a plan to cut the glass in the window of a store on Rampart 
Street and steal a pistol, but he was not sure then that Oswald meant to 
carry out the plan, and in fact they never did. Voebel said that 
Oswald "wouldn't start any fights, but if you wanted to start one with 
him, he was going to make sure that he ended it, or you were going 
to really have one, because he wasn't going to take anything from 
anybody." ®* In a space for the names of "close friends" on the ninth 
grade personal history record, Oswald first wrote "Edward Vogel," 
an obvious misspelling of Voebel's name, and "Arthor Abear," most 
likely Arthur Hebert, a classmate who has said that he did not 
know Oswald well. Oswald erased those names, however, and indi- 
cated that he had no close friends.®^ 

It has been suggested that this misspelling of names, apparently on 
a phonetic basis, was caused by a reading-spelling disability from 
which Oswald appeared to suffer.®^ Other evidence of the existence 
of such a disability is provided by the many other misspellings that 
appear in Oswald's writings, portions of which are quoted below. 

Sometime during this period, and under circumstances to be dis- 
cussed more fully below, Oswald started to read Communist litera- 


ture, which he obtained from the public library.^' One of his fel- 
low employees, Palmer McBride, stated that Oswald said he would 
like to kill President Eisenhower because he was exploiting the work- 
ing class.^^ Oswald praised Khrushchev and suggested that he and 
McBride join the Communist Party "to take advantage of their social 
functions." Oswald also became interested in the New Orleans 
Amateur Astronomy Association, an organization of high school stu- 
dents. The association's then president, William E. Wulf, testified 
that he remembered an occasion when Oswald 

* * * started expounding the Communist doctrine and saying 
that he was highly interested in communism, that communism 
was the only way of life for the worker, et cetera, and then came 
out with a statement that he was looking for a Communist cell in 
town to join but he couldn't find any. He was a little dismayed 
at this, and he said that he couldn't find any that would show any 
interest in him as a Communist, and subsequently, after this 
conversation, my father came in and we were kind of arguing 
back and forth about the situation, and my father came in the 
room, heard what we were arguing on communism, and that this 
boy was loud-mouthed, boisterous, and my father asked him to 
leave the house and politely put him out of the house, and that 
is the last I have seen or spoken with Oswald.^°° 

Despite this apparent interest in communism, Oswald tried 
to join the Marines when he was 16 years old.^°^ This was 1 
year before his actual enlistment and just a little over 21^ years 
after he left New York. He wrote a note in his mother's name 
to school authorities in New Orleans saying that he was leaving school 
because he and his mother were moving to San Diego. In fact, he had 
quit school in an attempt to obtain his mother's assistance to join the 
Marines.^^^ ^Vhile he apparently was able to induce his mother to 
make a false statement about his age he was nevertheless unable to 
convince the proper authorities that he was really 17 years old.^°^ 
There is evidence that Oswald was greatly influenced in his decision to 
join the Marines by the fact that his brother Robert had done so ap- 
proximately 3 years before.^^* Robert Oswald had given his Marine 
Corps manual to his brother Lee, who studied it during the year fol- 
lowing his unsuccessful attempt to enlist until "He knew it by 
heart." According to Marguerite Oswald, "Lee lived for the time 
that he would become 17 years old to join the Marines — that whole 
year." In John Pic's view, Oswald was motivated to join the 
Marines in large part by a desire "to get from out and under * * * 
the yoke of oppression from my mother." 

Oswald's inability or lack of desire to enter into meaningful rela- 
tionships with other people continued during this period in New 
Orleans (1954—56).^°^ It probably contributed greatly to the general 
dissatisfaction which he exhibited with his environment, a dissatisfac- 
tion which seemed to find expression at this particular point in his 


intense desire to join the Marines and get away from his surroundings 
and his mother. His study of Communist literature, which might 
appear to be inconsistent with his desire to join the Marines, could have 
been another manifestation of Oswald's rejection of his environment.^°^ 

His difficulty in relating to other people and his general dissatisfac- 
tion with the world around him continued while he was in the Marine 
Corps. Kerry Thornley, a marine associate, who, shortly after Os- 
wald's defection, wrote an as yet unpublished novel based in considera- 
ble part on Oswald's life, testified that "definitely the Marine Corps 
was not what he had expected it to be when he joined." He said 
that Oswald "seemed to guard against developing real close friend- 
ships." Daniel Powers, another marine who was stationed with 
Oswald for part of his marine career, testified that Oswald seemed 
"always [to be] striving for a relationship, but whenever he did * * * 
his general personality would alienate the group against him." 
Other marines also testified that Oswald had few friends and kept 
very much to himself .^^^ 

While there is nothing in Oswald's military records to indicate that 
he was mentally unstable or otherwise psychologically unfit for duty in 
the Marine Corps,"^ he did not adjust well to conditions which 
he found in that service.^^^ He did not rise above the rank of 
private first class, even though he had passed a qualifying exam- 
ination for the rank of corporal.^^^ His Marine career was not 
helped by his attitude that he was a man of great ability and intelli- 
gence and that many of his superiors in the Marine Corps were not 
sufficiently competent to give him orders.^^^ While Oswald did not 
seem to object to authority in the abstract, he did think that he should 
be the one to exercise it. John E. Donovan, one of his former officers, 
testified that Oswald thought "that authority, particularly the Marine 
Corps, ought to be able to recognize talent such as his own, without a 
given magic college degree, and put them in positions of promi- 

Oswald manifested this feeling about authority by baiting his offi- 
cers. He led them into discussions of foreign affairs about which they 
often knew less than he did, since he had apparently devoted considera- 
ble time to a study of such matters.^^^ When the officers were unable to 
discuss foreign affairs satisfactorily with him, Oswald regarded them 
as unfit to exercise command over him.^^^ Nelson Delgado, one of Os- 
wald's fellow Marines, testified that Oswald tried to "cut up anybody 
that was high ranking" in those arguments "and make himself come 
out top dog." Oswald probably engaged his superiors in arguments 
on a subject that he had studied in an attempt to attract attention to 
himself and to support his exaggerated idea of his own abilities. 

Thornley also testified that he thought that Oswald's extreme per- 
sonal sloppiness in the Marine Corps "fitted into a general personality 
pattern of his : to do whatever was not wanted of him, a recalcitrant 
trend in his personality." Oswald "seemed to be a person who 
would go out of his way to get into trouble" and then used the 
"special treatment" he received as an example of the way in which 


he was being picked on and "as a mjeans of getting or attempting 
to get sympathy." In Thomley's view, Oswald labored under a per- 
secution complex which he strove to maintain and "felt the Marine 
Corps kept a pretty close watch on him because of his 'subversive' 
activities." Thornley added : "I think it was kind of necessary to him 
to believe that he was being picked on. It wasn't anything extreme. 
I wouldn't go as far as to call it, call him a paranoid, but a definite 
tendency there was in that direction, I think." 

Powers considered Oswald to be meek and easily led,^^^ an "indi- 
vidual that you would brainwash, and quite easy * * * [but] I think 
once he believed in something * * * he stood in his beliefs." Powers 
also testified that Oswald was reserved and seemed to be "somewhat 
the frail, little puppy in the litter." He had the nickname "Ozzie 

Oswald read a good deal, said Powers, but "he would never be 
reading any of the shoot-em-up westerns or anything like that. Nor- 
mally, it would be a good type of literature ; and the one that I recall 
was 'Leaves of Grass,' by Walt Wliitman." According to Powers, 
Oswald said : " 'All the Marine Corps did was to teach you to kill' and 
after you got out of the Marines you might be good gangsters." 
Powers believed that when Oswald a